How to keep cool at night – SEVEN heatwave sleep tips

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Scorching highs above 30C have been baking Britain for the past five days in a late summer heatwave. Desperate Brits have been craving cooler homes on a night for an undisturbed nights sleep. The heat has been getting to us so much that Currys PC World has reported a staggering 1,300 percent increase in the sales of fans across the last two days.

In light of the heatwave, leading neurobiologist and sleep tech brand Emma’s resident sleep expert, Dr Verena Senn, has given Express.co.uk science-backed tips to keep the hot summer nights from causing restless tossing and turning.

Dr Senn said: “Cooling our bodies down at the end of the day is a key part of winding our bodies down for sleep.

“Our body core temperature fluctuates throughout the day, peaking in the afternoon and through the early morning hours.”

So with more hot and sticky nights on the horizon, how can you keep cool and have a restful nights sleep?

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Here are seven heatwave sleep tips

1. Don’t be afraid of a hot shower

Dr Senn recommends cuddling up in a warm blanket or taking a hot shower or bath as strange as it may seem.

The sleep expert explained: “This might sound nuts but cuddling a warm blanket or taking a hot shower or bath before bed will help your body reduce its core temperature.

“Warmth in your blood vessels in your hands and feet will dilate and help you to lose excessive body heat.

“While cold water might feel more refreshing in the short term, warm water has a better long-term effect.”

2. Wet wet wet

Using wet cloths, ice packs or even holding a cold water bottle to your skin can help to cool you down.

Dr Senn said: “Apply wet cloths or ice packs to your skin for an optimum cooling sensation.

“You can even try filling a hot-water bottle with cold water and placing it between your legs (for short periods) as this is where your blood flows closest to the surface of your skin and will quickly cool you off.”

However Dr Senn cautions: “It goes without saying that you should never apply an ice pack directly to your skin. Always wrap it in a cloth or towel to avoid damaging your skin.”

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3. Cotton pyjamas

While many of us may be opting to sleep naked in this hot weather, donning cotton pyjamas may actually ensure a more comfortable nights sleep.

Dr Senn said: “It’s common sense to think the lesser the better when you’re hot, and many Brits may even be sleeping naked; there’s been some debate whether sleeping naked is actually better for us.

“But when it comes to night-time clothing, it’s actually better to wear pyjamas, just as long as they are natural cotton.

“This is because cotton actually helps your skin breathe, while absorbing your sweat during the night.”

4. Pressure points

Being aware of your pulse points and keeping these cool can help prevent feeling overheated.

Dr Senn explained: “Try splashing some water or placing a cold ice-cube on your body’s different pulse points, such as your wrists or the sides of your neck, for a short period of time.

“Your body’s blood vessels will react to the cool sensation and instantly bring your core temperature down.

“However, try and avoid your feet and hands, as this can prevent you from falling asleep.”

5. Don’t exercise (before bed)

As tempting as the cooler evening may seem to exercise, Dr Senn warns exercising too late in the day may make it more difficult for your body temperate to decrease.

She said: “This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people exercise later in the day.

“It’s best not to exercise before you go to bed as physical activity increases your body’s core temperature.

“If you are desperate for your daily dose of fitness, try working out in the morning, or mid-afternoon so your body has plenty of time to cool off before hitting the hay.”

6. You are what you eat!

Eating a large hot meal just before bed may trigger midnight sweats – so take heed!

Dr Senn said: “You are most likely to feel the night-time heat if you eat a large meal before bed as your body will be trying to digest it, in turn keeping you awake longer.

“Also, it’s bad news for curry lovers. If you want to enjoy a good night’s sleep, I’d advise that you try and avoid spicy food as much as possible as this is shown to increase your body temperature.

“Definitely not the best way to cool down before bed.”

7. Keep your room windows and curtains shut

Despite many of us yearning for a cool breeze, or hoping to air out the house during the day, this can actually cause rooms to heat up.

Dr Senn explained: “This might seem a bit counterintuitive at first, as you would expect that if your window was open that more air would come through.

“But keeping them shut during the day is critical, as it ensures that your room stays cooler than if the sun is allowed to shine inside.

“Once the sun has gone down, you can open your windows and curtains to allow a fresh breeze to roll over you- although you’ll be dozing off to the sounds of the night, so wear earplugs if this will cause you further disturbance.”

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