Lots of Australians love the hot
summer days, but warm summer nights can wreak havoc on our sleep — especially if you’re someone who doesn’t have air conditioning
in your home.
For starters, it can take a lot
longer to get to sleep. Tossing and turning are common as we attempt to escape from
sweaty bedding and lower our body temperature. Even once you get to sleep, the quality of your sleep is likely to be affected which can lead
to you feeling exhausted the next day.
Here are a few tips to help you get
to — and stay — asleep on hot nights:
Cool down before bed
Trying to lower your body
temperature before you hop into bed can go a long way towards helping you fall
Try drinking an ice-cold drink of
water in the lead up to bedtime (although don’t drink too much — you don’t want
to wake up needing the bathroom).
A cold shower can also be helpful,
especially if you go to bed a little bit damp, which will further help in
cooling you down.
Caffeine can disrupt your sleep at
the worst of times, let alone when you’re battling the heat.
Try avoiding caffeine after 3pm,
and especially in the hours leading up to bed time.
Adjust your bedding
Now is the time to store away your
doona and heavy blankets. While some people find the weight of heavy bedding
comfortable, it can significantly impact your sleep during hot weather.
Try swapping heavier bedding for
light, breathable cotton or linen sheets. Sleeping with just a top sheet and/or
a light cotton throw will be much more comfortable and help prevent sweating
On very hot nights, you may even
consider placing your sheets in the freezer half an hour or so before you go to
bed! Simply place them in a plastic bag and pop them in the freezer. They
should stay nice and cold while you’re trying to fall asleep.
Use a fan
It’s not just the temperature of a
room that affects how hot you feel, but also wind chill. Fans help circulate
the air and push cool air across your skin, helping to make you feel cooler.
Try placing a fan on your bedside
table or dresser, or use a column fan. A fan that oscillates (or moves from
side to side) can help to spread the cool air across your body and the room —
especially helpful for those sleeping with their partners.
Open your windows
Similar to a fan, leaving your
windows open will help to create some airflow.
The temperature outside often drops
as the night goes on, so leaving the windows open can help to cool the
temperature of your room and allow in a fresh breeze.
Use an ice pack or cold cloth
Just as you might use a hot water
bottle to keep you warm in the winter, you can use an ice pack to keep you cool
in the summer.
Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a
tea towel or cloth to keep the ice from making direct contact with your skin.
Try placing the wrapped ice pack at your feet or even under your pillow.
A cold cloth can have a similar
effect. Simply soak the cloth in cold water, wring out the excess and place it
in the fridge. When it’s time to go to bed, place the cool cloth over your
forehead, on your chest or anywhere on your body.
Check your pyjamas
Be sure to put those flannel
pyjamas away with your doona! Summer is the time to wear loose-fitting pyjamas
in breathable fabrics to help you keep cool.
Of course, you may wish to forego
Rule out sleep disorders
It’s not just the hot weather that
creates barriers to sleep. An estimated 1.5 million Australians have sleep disorders, with
about half of these having obstructive sleep apnoea.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep
apnoea include waking up in the morning with a headache, having poor
concentration, daytime sleepiness, loud and persistent snoring, frequent visits
to the bathroom, and choking or gasping for breath.
At Capital Chemist, we offer a Sleep Apnoea Service that helps to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnoea, with
access to take-home equipment and expert advice.
Speak to your local Capital Chemist
pharmacist to find out more.