Summer, for many, is the best time of the year. It is when they get to mingle more often with friends. It is the opportunity when they can have that gorgeous tan. Summer is vacation season for many because the sunny skies just can’t seem to stop making everyone’s mood happy, bright and sunshine-y.
But then again, there are summer days and nights when the heat is utterly unbearable. The hot, humid weather provides many additional challenges. Who would want to get all sweaty after a refreshing, cold shower? Getting sleep at night in an uncomfortably humid room is the biggest challenge for many. Why wouldn’t you complain when after a long and tiring day, you simply can’t relax because the room is moist and your skin feels sticky? Even with air conditioning, the extreme heat wave in some areas makes it really impossible to get some sleep.
But wait; don’t give up just yet. Don’t let sticky nights prevent you from getting a full night’s rest. We’ve compiled 9 sleep tips that should help you doze off even on hot summer nights. Give it a try and see that amidst all the heat, you can find a way to relax and sleep comfortably through the night. Thanks to summer’s bright, sunny skies, we’re feeling positive and optimistic about these tricks.
#1: Keep a glass of ice cold water and a damp washcloth at your bedside
A sip of cold water whenever you wake up during the night because of the heat can bring instant relief. A full 8-oz glass of cold water before bedtime is also recommended because excessive sweating can result in dehydration. Consider, however, the bathroom runs if you wish to drink more.
You may also use a wash cloth to dampen your neck, face and wrists as needed. You may want to purchase a cooling towel made from hyper-evaporative material. This will keep you cool without having to handle a wet and dripping cloth. Such cooling towel is useful not just during hot summer nights but also during a hike, when gardening or doing exercise.
Facial mist sprays can likewise be useful. Such can quickly cool and refresh your skin. These are widely available in groceries and most health and beauty stores.
#2: Flip the pillow
Every time you wake up due to heat during the night, flip your pillow so you can lay your head on the cooler side. The other side is cooler than the side you were sleeping on because it has not yet absorbed your body heat.
Got a few bucks to spend? Get yourself a cooling pillow. It works the same way as the flip-the-pillow technique as it also cools the head and the brain; but the cooling pillow is cooler and it stays cool longer. Try Chillow, a full-size cooling pad that feels like memory foam and does not require refrigeration or batteries. You can find other cooling pillows online and in department stores so go search for one that fits your cooling need and budget.
#3: Have a medium cold, or tepid, shower
Skip the very cold shower as the extreme change in body temperature can have a rebound effect. To counteract the cold water, your temperature may actually rise.
If you can’t fight the urge to let cold water run through your skin, place your wrists and the insides of your arms under cold running water for about 30 minutes. Getting these areas wet can help you cool down.
#4: Find a dark, lower ground sleeping spot
Because heat rises, it’s best that you stay on a spot that is low to ground like the bedroom floor, the guest room in the first floor, or the basement of your house. Temporarily sleep on the lower floor in the house and not in your bedroom upstairs.
#5: Use lighter, thinner bed linens
On hot summer nights, don’t hesitate to remove the thick mattress protector or pads in your bed. These as well as heavy blankets and duvets retain heat. Just for seasons when nights are unbearably hot, opt for cotton sheets and lightweight cotton-weave blankets. The use of straw or bamboo mats may also give you an easier time to sleep.
#6: Wear loose, comfortable, cotton sleepwear
Some people opt to go naked but sleeping in your birthday uniform can actually make you feel hotter. Sleeping naked doesn’t allow moisture to evaporate between the sleeping surface and your body. Wear breathable, cotton clothing instead and save the silk pajamas and satin lingerie for a cooler time. Avoid synthetic fabrics that trap in heat.
#7: Use an electric fan and a pan of ice to encourage better airflow
If it’s not too much work for you, why not place a tray of ice in front of a fan so the liquid that will evaporate can help cool the room. You get to enjoy a cooling mist from the cold breeze provided by the melted ice and the blow of the electric fan. This is an easy and an inexpensive way to keep the air blown by the electric fan cool.
#8: Prep for the night
Tossing and turning because of the scorching heat won’t lower the room temperature nor will it give you your much-needed sleep. If you know that the night temperature will be too hot to handle, come to bed prepared. How?
- You may want to take a nap in the morning or in the afternoon whenever it’s cooler. This will give your body the time to rest. However, it is still best that you maintain a consistent sleep pattern. Your body’s internal clock will still work despite the hot climate.
- Keep your body hydrated during the day. Water is a good maintainer of body temperature. It carries the heat away from your internal organs to avoid serious damage that could lead to heat stroke. The water that carries heat travels through your bloodstream causing your skin to sweat. Don’t wait for that thirsty feeling before serving yourself a glass of water. Remember, thirst is the brain’s response to dehydration. Check your hydration status by monitoring the color of your urine; very pale yellow urine means you’re properly hydrated. Also consider how often you sweat. Sweating keeps your body temperature down and in order to sweat, your body has to have enough water in it. Sweat is about 95% water and if you’re dehydrated, your body can’t produce sweat to cool itself. Note as well that dehydration is a common cause of insomnia.
- Avoid hot, spicy food/meals near bedtime as these will increase your core temperature.
- Also avoid caffeinated drinks and chocolate in the late afternoon. The energy boost caffeine gives will only keep you awake.
- Keep the curtains in your bedroom closed during daytime so that sunlight and the heat it emits won’t come in. Have the windows opened on the shady side and closed on the sunny side.
- An hour or two before going to bed, open all the windows in your bedroom to allow some breeze to come in.
- If it’s not possible to open the windows, cool your bedroom prior to your bedtime with an air conditioning and electric fan tandem.
- You can also cool a room by hanging a wet, light-colored sheet or cloth in front of an open window. Its trapped water will evaporate and cool the breeze flowing into your room.
- Play a relaxing music while you’re trying to get to sleep. You can also take your mind off the heat by reading a book.
- Make sure you have your air conditioning system maintained. It can effectively cool a room if the filters are clean.
- Turn of the lights. Even light bulbs emit heat so use it minimally or not at all. Just take advantage of the natural light.
#9: Train your body and mind
This may sound difficult and weird but it could really work. When you get into bed and it’s hot and uncomfortable, you get your mind active with things about your life – work, family, expenses, and all that. You are aware that it’s hot and you won’t get to sleep as quickly as you want. Your mind then wanders and that thing that you start thinking about will stop you from falling asleep. So instead of tossing and turning, get up and do something comforting. If you regularly do a night cap, a couple of glasses might help. But if you’re not used to it, skip it as alcohol can only put you asleep but cannot keep you dozed off. Alcohol is a key contributor to low-quality sleep and nocturnal waking.
The key here is to relax your body and mind. Stop worrying. You can get by with little sleep for a couple of days. You’ll see that by the third night, you’ll be so tired you’ll easily fall asleep regardless of the weather.
The heat of the summer could be the biggest sleep thief. But if you come prepared, the fun in summer stays even at nighttime.