Health

How to fall asleep in the Summer heat

Don’t let the heat stop you from getting your snooze on
Loading the player...

For many, sleeping in the heat can be unbearable. “Bedtime is our body’s time to process, recover and repair, but it’s highly influenced by our body temperature,” says sleep scientist Lana Eyeington.

WATCH: Get your Z’s this Summer. Article continues after video.

But you can still sleep well during a scorcher – without blasting the aircon. Here’s how.

Keep the heat out

A stuffy bedroom can make sleeping impossible. Ideally, a room should be cool, dark and peaceful.

“During the day, block out the heat from the sun by closing the windows and curtains. Then, as the day starts to cool down, open the windows and let some air in,” Eyeington says.

sleeping-on-white-sheets
Switch to more breathable linen. (Credit: Getty)

Switch the heavier sheets and doona for lighter, more breathable bed linen. “Use cotton sheets and cotton bedding. The lower the thread counts, the better – fewer fibres mean more air flows through the sheets, making it more breathable,” she says.

Play music at bedtime

Relaxing music can be soothing on a hot night. “Music cools you down by inducing relaxation and reducing stress, which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and has an indirect effect on your body temperature,” Eyeington explains.

“Ideally you need music that’s around 60 beats per minute, which is quite slow – on the low end of a healthy heart rate,” she says.

girl-listening-to-music-in-the-sun
Relaxing music can help soothe the hot nights. (Credit: Getty)

Think ‘Nocturne in E Flat Major’ by Chopin or Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’. Eyeington recommends playing the music for 45 minutes before going to sleep.

Think cool thoughts

If you want to cool off in the heat, use your imagination – literally! A study by the University of South Australia involved training people to visualise things that were hot or cold. More than three-quarters of the subjects successfully raised or lowered their hand temperature by one-and-a-half degrees or more.

raging-ocean-waves
Think cool thoughts. (Credit: Getty)

To try it yourself, close your eyes and think of something cool. Picture it clearly in your mind and focus on how it makes you feel. Stay focused and don’t rush. Visualisation works best when you’re calm, at ease, and willing to give yourself time to focus, so be patient.

Make your own aircon

Blasting the air conditioning all night can end up costing an absolute fortune. Try using ceiling fans and good ventilation first, but if it gets too hot for the fan to be effective, get creative with simple household items.

cooling-fan
Get creative with your cooling systems. (Credit: Getty)

“Try making your own air conditioner by placing some ice or a damp sheet in front of a fan,” Eyeington says.

You can also try freezing your sheets for an immediate cooling effect – wrap clean sheets in a plastic bag and pop them in the freezer for a few hours before you go to bed. Likewise, a chilled water spray bottle makes a simple yet refreshing facial spritz.

Trick your body

A cold shower might sound tempting, but experts believe it will make you hotter due to your body generating more heat in response to the sudden drop in temperature. Instead, try fooling your body into cooling itself down naturally by turning up the heat.

jesinta-franklin-beach
Trick your body for extra sleep. (Credit: Instagram)

To do this, take a tepid bath or shower just below your own body’s temperature. Studies show that menopausal women, in particular, benefit from this technique.

“Research suggests that gently heating your hands and feet could make falling asleep easier,” Eyeington adds.

Alternatively, try eating some spicy foods to stay cool. “While a lot of people think spicy foods heat us up, they in fact trigger a sweat response that cools us down,” she says.

Drinking chrysanthemum tea is also said to have a cooling effect, with the technique lowering your body’s temperature.

Related stories