Tips to help you sleep as temperatures soar across East Anglia

A generic photo of a woman lying in bed in pyjamas. Photo PA

A generic photo of a woman lying in bed in pyjamas. Photo PA - Credit: PA

It’s been one of the hottest and driest Junes on record and the soaring temperatures are forecast to continue across East Anglia.

Last week, temperatures reached almost 30C in some parts of Suffolk and Norfolk, although it was slightly cooler nearer the coast, and highs of up to 27C are predicted in some parts of the region in the coming days.

But while the weather has been great for barbecues and trips to the beach, it’s not so good when it comes to sleeping.

Heat can cause unsettled nights and disturbed sleep, leaving many of us tossing and turning in bed, drenched in perspiration as the sweltering temperatures make it too uncomfortable to relax and drift off to sleep.

Research suggests that the optimum temperature for sleep is around 17C, but if you’re not lucky enough to have air conditioning and can’t get your bedroom to a cool temperature, there’s no reason to continue to lie awake in discomfort.

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Try these tips to help you get the restful night’s sleep we all need for wellbeing:

1. Keep blinds, shutters and curtains closed. A room that has been drenched in sunlight all day can become an oven during the summertime. Blocking out the sunshine and heat results in a cooler atmosphere when it’s time for bed, say the makers of herbal sleep remedy Kalms Night.

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2. Put on a fan and open a window. Try popping a bowl of ice cubes in front of a fan – it will pick up the cold moisture as the ice melts, and circulate that instead. The cool air will leave you feeling less agitated, and make it easier to drop off. Invest in ear plugs if you’re worried about outdoor noise disturbing you.

3. Repurpose a winter staple, advises independent sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. A hot water bottle may seem like the last thing you need to help you get through the hot summer nights, but what if your hot water bottle became a cold water bottle? “Filling your hot water bottle with cold water and leaving it in the freezer for a while before placing between your bedsheets is a quick and extremely effective way to cool your bed down ensuring the sheets feel fresh and cool against your skin,” he says.

4. Switch off screens. “Screen time should end ideally at least 25 minutes before sleep,” says Dr Stanley. “Blue light is known to suppress the release of melatonin, which is the body’s signal that it’s time for sleep. Therefore, using screens before bed will disrupt sleep. Research shows that nearly one in five of us check social media before going to bed, so try and put your phone, laptop or tablet down.”

5. Take a cool shower before bed. But not too cool; a really cold shower can have the adverse effect, and actually leave you feeling more awake, say the experts at Kalms Night.

6. Exercise during the day. The light evenings and warm weather leave you with no excuse to miss that evening run or bike ride. Tire yourself out more during the day, and you’ll sleep better at night.

7. Don’t eat dinner too close to slumber-time. Eating a large meal right before bedtime kicks your metabolic system into digesting calories – and expended energy raises your core body temperature. Aim to leave at least two hours between eating and sleeping, says Kalms Night.

8. Choose cotton – make sure your pyjamas and bed linen are made from cotton, a lightweight and breathable fabric which promotes air flow

9. Sip water. Have a glass of iced water nearby to sip on as needed – don’t drink a full glass just before bed though as this can lead to multiple loo trips throughout the night. By the same token, says Dr Stanley, lay off the booze. It can be all too easy when the sun is out to stay out that little bit longer, and indulge in one too many drinks. “Alcohol can leave you feeling dehydrated, which exacerbates many of the worst elements of overheating. Limiting your alcohol intake, and particularly not consuming alcohol right before bedtime are important to ensuring you can get a good night’s sleep.”

10. Try a traditional herbal remedy. Valerian root extract has been used for centuries as a trusted sleep aid due to its herbal sedative effect. Lavender drops on the pillow may also aid sleep.

And if all else fails? Take solace in the fact that good weather rarely lasts here in the UK.

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