How to Sleep Better When It’s Hot Outside
Summer is a welcome time for most people. After a long winter, the days are longer, sunnier and warmer. And yet, this season is not without its problems. Sleeping through the heat of a summer night can be tricky. If you don’t have air conditioning or your system just can’t keep up with a heatwave, you may spend the night tossing and turning. Thankfully, there are things you can do to manage the hot nights of summer.
What to Do Before Bed
Preparation is important for a good night’s sleep, no matter the weather. When it’s hot in your bedroom, try these tips before going to bed:
- Take a shower or bathe in lukewarm to cool water. This will lower your body temperature.
- If you don’t want to get in the shower, wet your exposed skin with a washcloth or spray bottle and stand in front of a fan, or soak your feet in cold water.
- Place cold packs on the warmest parts of your body: your armpits and groin. This will cool you down fast.
- Change into minimal, lightweight clothing well before bed to get more cool air on your skin.
What to Avoid
Anything you can do to cool down before bed will help. The reverse is also true. In the last few hours before bed, avoid anything that will get you overheated. Exercise, for instance, is relaxing, but finish up your workout well before bedtime. Pay attention to when and what you eat. Avoid heavy meals and spicy food during the day and especially leading up to bedtime. Avoid caffeine too; it’ll only add to your difficulty falling asleep and it can dehydrate you.
Improve Your Sleep Environment
Look to where you sleep to make improvements for hot weather. Make sure your bedding is made of lightweight materials and breathable cotton. Consider sleeping with just a sheet if you prefer to be covered with something.
Add fans to your bedroom. Place them in front of open windows to improve air circulation. A circulating fan or one adjusted to point right at you will help the most. If your room is just too hot, set up a sleeping area in a cooler room. First-floor rooms, basements and even screened porches may be more comfortable.
Try Meditation to Fall Asleep Faster
Often, it’s the time you spend trying to fall asleep that really causes the problem. Lying in bed, sweating, worrying about not being able to sleep because of the heat just makes your situation worse. Anything you can do to fall asleep more quickly will help.
Meditation is proven to be an effective tool for beating insomnia. One of the many things it improves is sleep latency - the time it takes you to fall asleep. Meditating at any time of day will help, but try a pre-bed meditation to focus on falling asleep. Start small with just a few minutes in a quiet, cool spot. Over time you can increase the duration and you should see significant results.
BetterSleep has hundreds of meditations to choose from, including short, guided sessions for beginners and practices dedicated to improving sleep. Here are some great ones to cool your mind down before bed:
- Complete Release Body Scan
- Tranquil Lakeside Journey
- Deep Body Relaxation
- Reclaiming Bedtime
With these tweaks to your routine, bedroom and mindset, you’ll be ready to take on those summer nights. No sweat.
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