By Brett Williamson
Struggling to sleep through hot summer nights? Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health researcher Michael Gradisar has some tips that might help.
He said you must maintain a regular body temperature in order to get a good night’s sleep.
A healthy person’s body temperature generally ranges from 36.5 to 37.5 degrees Celsius.
“In the evening our body releases heat from the hands and the feet,” Dr Gradisar said.
Sleep tips for hot nights.
- Have a cool shower before bed
- Keep the air conditioner set in the low 20s
- Run the air conditioner until 4am
- If you have no air con, use a spray bottle or damp wash cloth
- Avoid caffeinated and hot beverages before bed
- “Avoid having any sort of covers over your torso.”
If the room is air-conditioned, set the thermostat in the low 20s.
Anything lower will cool the body too much and simply be a waste of electricity.
“It’s helpful if people can keep on their air conditioning overnight as we do get quite warm temperatures in our bedrooms,” Dr Gradisar said.
He recommended programming the air conditioner to turn off around 4:00am.
How to cope without air con.
For those who do not have or cannot afford an air conditioner, Dr Gradisar said there were simple ways to achieve a similar cooling result.
A cool shower before bed and keeping damp wash cloths or a spray bottle close by will help.
You should also avoid caffeinated products, including some teas, in the hours leading up to bed time.
And if your partner struggles to sleep during warm nights, hitting the couch may also help.
“Some studies have shown that a third of awakenings are due to bed partners moving during the night,” Dr Gradisar said.
Body temperature from a bed partner can also be absorbed, making cooling down more difficult.