Getting A Good Night’s Sleep Could Be As Simple As Moving Your Bed
The weather has finally started to get warmer in the U.K. which is always a reason to celebrate. Though most of us enjoy spending our day out in the sun, the heat can make us feel uncomfortable when we’re trying to sleep.
Given that the UK is going through a mini heat-wave, Martin Seeley, the CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay has explained why people are likely to get poor sleep this week and how we can prevent that happening.
Why do we struggle to sleep when it’s hot?
For starters, the heat and humidity can make it hard to fall asleep at night which can lead to a night of tossing, turning, sweating, and, therefore, a lack of high-quality sleep.
“Secondly, you may find that the excitement of longer and warmer days has led to you forgetting to prioritise sleep,” Seeley explains.
Sunny weather can be a rarity in the U.K so when the warm weather arrives you suddenly feel a new sense of optimism about the number of things you can complete in a single day.
“However, if you’re not logging seven or eight hours of sleep per night, then you’ll slowly start to feel the consequences of sleep deprivation, which will ironically make you feel anti-social, after socialising so much,” Seely says.
He suggests that we try not to spread ourselves too thin and prioritise sleep if we’re feeling an afternoon slump. For most of us, the sun means going down to the pub garden to have a couple of drinks. But, all those beers can impact your sleep.
“You should make sure to stop consuming alcohol within three hours of your bedtime,” Seeley says.
“Although alcohol can make feel sleepy due to its sedative properties and, therefore, make you fall asleep more quickly, your quality of sleep that night will be lower, and you’ll feel excessive daytime sleepiness the following date,” he adds.
To create a comfortable sleeping environment, you should keep your bedroom between 16 to 18°C. But, you can use a fan to achieve this lower temperature or if you feel yourself heating up.
Here are other ways you can achieve a cooler sleeping environment.
1. Put your hot water in the freezer for 15 minutes before you go to bed
If you feel hot at night, fill your hot water bottle up with cold water and put it in the freezer an hour before you plan on going to bed. However, be careful as it turns out that frozen water can damage the material of many hot water bottles – meaning the next time you were to hot water to it, it could burst.
Or, if you don’t own a hot water bottle, put your pillowcase in the freezer for 15 minutes before you plan on hitting the hay.
2. When you brush your teeth, run your wrists under cold water
When you brush your teeth before bed, you should also run your wrists under cold water for a few minutes before bedtime, as this quickly cools your body down.
3. Keep your bedroom’s blinds and curtains shut all-day
Naturally, the sun tends to be the hottest throughout the day so you should keep your blinds and curtains shut throughout the day, to prevent the sun from coming in. This should keep your bedroom cooler a night-time when it’s time to fall asleep.
4. Expose yourself to as much daylight as possible throughout the day
However, whilst you should keep your bedroom away from the light, you should personally try and spend as much time out in the sun throughout the day. This is because light plays the most integral role in regulating your body’s internal clock, as it signals to your brain when to be alert and when to rest.
You should expose yourself to as much light as possible to bring on the feeling of alertness, however, as the day goes on, you should close your curtains to block out the light at night and instead use ambient lamps.
By the time you get to bed, your bedroom should be virtually black, so your brain knows that it’s bedtime. If your blind or curtain situation doesn’t allow this, keep an eye mask near your bed to block the light out.
5. Make sure to drink at least two litres of water throughout the day
Not only does keeping hydrated boost your energy but your metabolism too. Even mild dehydration can leave you feeling sleepy and tired, whilst negatively disrupting your mood.
6. Try to avoid napping but if you must, do it the right way
Though the sun makes it incredibly easy to have an accidental afternoon nap, this can have a detrimental effect on your sleep that night unless it’s done right.
If you have to nap, you should only sleep for between 10-20 minutes as anything longer than 30 minutes can risk feeling groggy as your body will have entered a deep sleep cycle.
As your alertness naturally dips in the afternoon, you should pay attention to when you start to feel drowsy and nap straight away (if possible). Make sure this is more than 8 hours before your bedtime though, as it could impact your sleep if not.
7. Stop drinking alcohol at least three hours before your bedtime
Alcohol can make you fall asleep due to its sedative properties which can allow you to fall asleep quickly. However, what’s not common knowledge is that your sleep quality is considerably lower after consuming alcohol.
You won’t feel recharged the following morning and will suffer from excessive sleepiness throughout the day. So, if you do decide to drink (which is fair!), make sure to stop drinking at least three hours before your bedtime so it’s mostly worn off by the time you drift off.
8. Switch your duvet to a lighter colour
You should switch your duvet cover to know that is not only lighter in colour but in a lighter material to regulate your body temperature if you tend to sweat at night.
It’s important to choose this type of bedding during spring and summer as night sweats can disturb your sleep and significantly impact your mood. Also, remember to wash your bedding once a week in spring and summer to remove any build-up of bacteria if you are prone to sweating.
9. Place a bowl of ice in front of an electric fan
Ideally, you should sleep with a fan during a heatwave to keep cool. However, filling a bowl with ice cubes and placing it in front will make your room even cooler. This is because the ice cubes slowly melt away, dispersing a cool breeze.
10. Move your bed to the secret spot which encourages the highest quality of sleep
If you’re struggling to sleep, you should also consider moving your bed to the best position for sleep, as this can improve your sleep quality beyond the heatwave.
Placing your bed against the longest wall allows you to fall asleep faster as when it’s alternatively placed near a door or window, you can be kept away from sounds and shadows, which are likely to happen during the hotter periods of the year as people make the most of the weather.