I often talk to my clients about the importance of getting enough sleep - it can help to re-balance hormones, boost metabolism, reduce cravings for fatty/sugary food, slow cellular-ageing...it basically has a whole host of health benefits. However it can be difficult to get a good night's sleep in the heat. Here are a few things that you can try to help improve your sleep despite the heat:
1. Take a warm shower before you go to bed
This may be the last thing that you want to do when you feel hot - but when we take a warm shower, blood rushes to the surface of our skin causing our body to release heat. This can actually help our core body temperature to drop when we then go to sleep.
2. Avoid those evening drinks
When it gets warmer, everyone is outside enjoying the weather and some drinks. Yet alcohol can really disrupt your sleep and cause you to wake up several times during the night. Alcohol initially acts like a sedative, causing you to fall asleep quickly - but the sleep you then have will not be of a very good quality. So if you go want to enjoy some drinks in the hot weather - you are better off doing that at lunch-time and then drinking lots of water...to ensure you don't have much alcohol left in your system by the evening.
3. Make sure you keep it cool
This one is a bit more common sense - but make sure you are not going to sleep dressed like an Eskimo, that you have a fan/air-cooler in your room, and that you have switched your duvet for some light sheets. Your core body temperature needs to drop whilst you sleep for optimum sleep - so the more you can do to help it to achieve this, the better.
4. Skip the iced-coffee
That afternoon iced-coffee can be just the pick-me-up you go to when you feel that afternoon slump at work. However, caffeine has a half-life of between 5-7 hours - which means that even after 5-7 hours you still have half of the coffee you just drunk in your system, 10-14 hours you still have a quarter of that cup of coffee in your body... and that caffeine blocks a chemical called adenosine in your body from communicating with the body and telling it that you are tired. So caffeine is basically a signal to your body to stay awake. Skip the afternoon iced-late and go for some sparkling water instead!
5. Keep moving
The last thing you are probably focusing on right now is exercising. It probably seems far too hot for you to want to engage in any serious movement. However there is a lot of research which shows that exercise is really beneficial for your sleep. The best times to exercise for sleep quality are in the morning and around 4/5pm. Avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it can actually negatively impact your sleep quality - but otherwise, a bit of gentle movement during the day (even in the heat) can be great for making sure that you get enough sleep.
The Food Psychology Clinic works with individuals to optimise their sleeping habits. If you would like support to get better quality sleep email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
“Sleep has been provided by nature to do the body’s healing work, and it takes seven or eight hours for this process to happen. Commit to getting at least seven to eight hours of good quality sleep every night to keep your body and hormones in balance.” - Suzanne Somers