The ultimate solution for better sleep on hot nights

After the hottest July on record, August shows no signs of letting up. According to all meteorologists, there are still some very hot days ahead. Although the heat is suffocating during the day, at night it's a big obstacle to getting a good night's .

Not all of us have an air-conditioning unit that cools our home and allows us to get a good night's rest, and during these months, the night can become a living hell. Fortunately, we have a number of to help us survive the hottest nights of the year.

Why don't we sleep well when it's hot?

Malcolm Von Schantz, sleep neuroscientist at the University of Surrey, explains that “as a species, we are diurnal animals and over the years we have evolved to sleep at night, when it's colder and darker”. For this reason, when the temperature changes, it's difficult for us to fall asleep properly: it works like a “natural clock” and we wake up.

Our temperature changes between waking and sleeping, about an hour or thirty minutes before sleep, the body begins to lose body heat. This increases feelings of fatigue in normal, healthy adults.

People suffering from , without going further, “show that they have a higher basal body temperature just before going to sleep than people who have no sleep problems.”

Ambient heat doesn't help with this thermal reduction, and it seems more than proven that when the temperature is very high, it's harder to fall asleep and, when it is achieved, it's of very poor quality (fragmented and with few dreams).

Tips for cooling your home naturally

Prevent the room from heating up during the day: The first thing to do is to ensure that, during the central hours of the day, the room where we sleep is heated. To achieve this, it's important to insulate the room by closing windows, doors and blinds throughout the day.

When it's already dark, the outside temperature, albeit slightly, generally drops: it's time to open the windows and create a small draught that will cool the whole house.

Fan: As an extra help, we can buy a programmable fan and activate the automatic shut-off when we calculate that we'll be asleep. Another trick is to place a bag of ice or a frozen bottle in front of the fan to help cool the air circulating in the room.

Bedding: For summer, the ideal choice is light bedding, with natural fibers that absorb perspiration better than synthetics, and summer pyjamas in cool, fine cotton.

Electronic devices: Electronic devices such as televisions and computers generate heat, so it's a good idea to unplug them a few hours before going to bed.

Dinner: Avoiding large meals before bedtime is essential on warm nights, as they tend to increase the sensation of heat and interfere with sleep.

Take a refreshing shower or bath before bed.

Exercise: It's advisable not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this also raises body temperature.

Brain tapping, the calcetín trick and other viral methods for sleeping well during the heat wave

Now that you know why it's so hard to get a good night's sleep during heatwaves, check out all the viral tricks that can help you get a cool, pleasant night's sleep. Among the most popular is “brain tapping”, a relaxation technique that involves gently tapping the forehead to calm the mind and encourage sleep. Another popular tip is to put a bottle of frozen water in a sock and place it on your forehead or feet to cool down quickly.

These viral methods may seem far-fetched, but they often have beneficial effects on our ability to sleep. Sometimes all it takes is a simple gesture or an unusual technique to beat the heat and get back to restful sleep.

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