Last week was a scorcher and it looks like we have a few more of those days ahead of us. Yes it is absolutely brilliant as many of us are having to holiday at home here in the UK this Summer but we are ill prepared...especially at night...when all we want and need is a good nights sleep.
It is crazy how little importance we associate with sleep. It is an instrumental factor into both our physical and mental health yet only 17%• of UK adults sleep for the recommended 8 hours a night.
Quite simply put, if we don't get enough of it then we are likely to be far less productive during the day which will have a gentle domino affect on our health if it becomes a habit.
So what is it that can affect our sleep?
Often it can be our lifestyle and daytime habits such as stress, eating too late, too much blue light usage before bed but weather (particularly when it is so unbearably hot) can really interrupt our bodies repair time as we try to get some shut eye. This lack of sleep can have negative affects on our mood, creativity, immune health, heart and brain health and productivity.
With weather reports suggesting highs such as 33 degrees in London this week we have all got some rather restless and uncomfortable nights ahead. Here are our tips to hopefully make things that little easier for you.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Keep those fluids up. Mainly water and soft drinks as caffeinated drinks and alcohol will only dehydrate you further. And, if possible, drink large volumes thoroughout the day and decrease them during the evening. The last thing you want to be doing is getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Keep your environment cool. Our bodies are able to relax and unwind at approximately 18.5 degrees. Yes it is difficult with the hot weather but keep windows open and rooms as well ventilated as possible and keep curtains drawn and blinds closed during the day. Keep the fan on if you've got one and TVs off. It is surprising how much heat they let off.
- Save your sleep for bed time and don't nap during the day no matter how tired you feel. This will only affect your sleep at night.
- Exercise, safely and, at least three hours before bed particularly if it is heavy exercise. Exercising increases the metabolism, raises your body temperature and your cortisol levels and you really don't want that before bed in the heat. And please keep well hydrated before, during and after.
- Fill a hot water bottle with cold water and take it to bed with you to keep yourself cool during the night. We will definitely be doing this one.
- Cooling your feet lowers the overall body temperature so why not soak your feet in cool water for about 10 minutes before bed? Or keep some socks in the fridge and when you're ready for bed pop them on. Or try it with a cold flannel instead.
Enjoy the weather and have a restful sleep...when you get there.
• based on NHS data Oct '18