I can see why so many of you voted for my 'Keep Cool' article this week, as the sun has most certainly been heating up those bedrooms and causing havoc with our sleep.
Similarly to our little ones, it's more than normal for us adults to wake a number of times each night too, as we go through each sleep cycle from deep sleep to brief awakenings. More often than not our children and us simply drift back off and repeat the same cycle. When it is brighter and warmer than ever though, our brains are given signals that it is daytime and we might find it harder to get a good nights sleep.
This article is here to offer a few tried and tested ideas to keep you and your youngsters well rested, with ideas to keep cool in the summer months.
It might sound daft but looking out for sheets and mattresses that are made up of natural materials can actually aid in temperature control. Fillings such as wool and cotton for example can be a good choice for summer months.
You can even get cooling pillows these days.
Think about the air coming into the room
Whilst most of us ensure our windows are open on warm nights to let fresh air in, and perhaps provide a bit of a breeze, it is now suggested that if your windows are north facing then it is more likely to draw in warm air.
If this is the case and you choose to keep your windows shut though, there are a few other options...
Ensuring your body is hydrated throughout the day will support your body in controlling its temperature more throughout the night. If like me and you have still not got into the habit of drinking your recommended 2 litres of water a day, then you could choose to
- Freeze a damp cloth an hour before bed and use as a cold compress as you doze off.
- Fill up a travel bottle or old spray bottle with cold water and give yourself a spritz when you awake.
Experts have suggested taking a lukewarm bath or shower before bed to begin encouraging your body temperature to drop.
For the same purpose, others have suggested a lukewarm water bottle under your feet whilst you sleep.
Just as staying hydrated can affect your body temperature, careful selection of the foods you eat during the summer can also have an impact on how often you find yourself overheating.
Eating little and often during warm weather is best as eating large meals causes your body to heat more whilst digesting them.
Dave Gibson, sleep expert, has also been recorded advising to cut down on your protein too. He explains that not only will your body heat up due to increasing your metabolic rate, but your body will naturally heat up more as your body works to break down the protein.
You would be surprised at how much heat your electrical sockets and appliances radiate throughout the night, especially when they are plugged in and turned on. To ensure they are not contributing to the overheating of your home on an evening, I would advise to turn them off or unplug them entirely wherever possible. This goes for lights and lamps left on too.
Whilst yes, keeping the fan on all night will contribute to the electrical heat radiating in your room, the benefits of keeping cool and getting a good night sleep definately outweigh this in my opinion.
To increase the effects of the cool breeze from your fan try placing a bowl of ice in front of it to optimise in bringing your room temperature down.
A simple but effective change you can make throughout the summer may just be to swap rooms. Is your spare room cooler than your own? Why not move in there for a short time?
As we all know heat rises, if you can make comfortable arrangements to do so then sleeping downstairs could be the right choice for you.
Whichever room you choose to sleep in, keeping your curtains closed throughout the day can also stop the temperatures rising throughout the house.
Other things to remember during the summer months are to ensure you don't get heat exhaustion throughout the day by keeping to the shade and drinking plenty of water. Remember to dress lightly and always use sunscreen, even the lower factor lotions are better than nothing!
Babies should also be dressed in natural and loose fitting clothes, remembering to cover their head and stick to the shade wherever possible.
It is likely that if you are breastfeeding, your baby may want more frequent 'drink' feeds to stay hydrated. This is absolutely normal and essential in keeping them hydrated in hotter months.
Although we think we are shading them by placing a muslin or blanket over their pushchair, it has actually been proven that covering their prams in this way actually contributes to an increase of temperature and can quickly cause overheating in children. Instead, simply find a shadier spot for them to nap, use an umbrella or turn their pushchair around so they are facing away from the sun.
Water play is a great way to keep youngsters cool in the garden.
Try sprinklers, paddling pools or water wheels/trays. Not only does this always keep them entertained but it will also help maintain a safe temperature when out in the sun.
Remember here to use a high and water resistant sun lotion ad reapply every 1-2 hours.
It has been warned in recent months however, that using garden hoses in your water play can lead to dangerous burns as any water left in the hose will become hotter when left out