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8 tips on how to stay cool at bedtime during a heatwave

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Tuesday was the hottest day on record in the UK at 40.2C, with temperatures in some areas staying as high as 25C overnight.

Such heat can leave people struggling to sleep at night. Here are eight tips to get a better night’s kip when it’s so hot.

Close the curtains

Keep your bedroom as cool as possible during the day. Closing curtains and blinds will stop the sun from coming in, while windows facing the sun should be closed as they will let hot air in. Windows should be opened just before bedtime to let a breeze in.

Pick the right bedclothes

Changing sheets for those with more breathable fabrics, like linen or cotton, will allow better air flow and can help you keep cool. It may be worth switching to a more lightweight duvet - 4.5 tog or less - during summer months.

Use a cold water bottle

The hot water bottle is a handy piece of kit for freezing winter nights. But using a hot water bottle that’s filled with cold water, or even putting it in the freezer for a short time, can be a cheap and easy way to cool your bed during summer.

Drink lots of cold liquids

Being adequately hydrated can help sleep in the heat. Try to avoid drinks high in caffeine and don’t have too much before bed to avoid unwanted trips to the bathroom. Don’t drink alcohol before bed, as it will leave you dehydrated.

Find new positions

While tossing and turning is never a good sign, it is worth moving to different positions to sleep. Moving your pillow to the foot of the bed, or to the other side, can help you to locate cooler parts and beat the heat.

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Use air conditioning alternatives

It’s hard to justify home air conditioning in Northern Ireland as we don’t get consistently hot summers, but there are makeshift alternatives that do a similar job. A wet towel or bowl of ice in front of an open window or fan can circulate cool air.

Prepare for the heat before bed

Using cold water on your hands and feet or taking a cold shower can lower your skin temperature, while putting pillowcases in the freezer for a short time will make bedtime more comfortable.

Avoid certain foods and activities before bed

High-protein food can increase metabolism and heat you up, as can exercise before bed (morning exercise is better on hot days). You should also ignore the urge to nap during the day.


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