Sleep well in the heat with expert’s 10 dos and don’ts

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Getting enough sleep at night can be a challenge for many people, especially during the summer.

As the nights become warmer and more humid it can be even more difficult to get the recommended seven to nine hours of shut eye every night.

While it may seem like an issue that is out of our control, there are steps we can take to increase our chances of drifting off.

Nerina Ramlakhan, physiologist and sleep expert, spoke with about her 10 dos and don’ts when it comes to sleeping better.

Don’t Nap

Hot weather can make you feel sleepier, because you are using your energy to regulate your temperature, said Nerina.

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“As tempting as it may be, don’t take a nap. Save all your sleepiness for at night.”

Stick to your routine

Try and keep to your usual routines and bedtime, advised Nerina.

“Changing habits can disrupt your sleep, so do everything you would usually do before going to bed.”

Keep your bedroom cool

A great way to beat the hot nights is to make your bedroom as cool as possible.

Nerina said: “Draw the curtains during the day and open your windows at night.

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“The cool air will leave you feeling less agitated, making it easier to drop off to sleep.”

Change your bedding

Make sure your pyjamas and bed linen are made from cotton, a lightweight and breathable fabric which promotes air flow, said Nerina.

“When temperatures soar, try popping your sheets and pillowcases into bags and putting them in a fridge before bedtime.”

Have a cool shower or bath before bed

Getting your hair or head wet can help reduce your core body temperature.

Nerina added: “But make sure the water isn’t too cold as this can have an adverse effect, and actually leave you feeling more awake.”

Invest in a hot water bottle

Fill your hot water bottle with ice cold water, or even pop it in the freezer for sweet heat relief, said Nerina

Exercise during the day

The light evenings and warm weather leave you with no excuse to miss that evening run or bike ride.

Nerina said: “Tire yourself out more during the day, and you will sleep better at night.”

Hydration is key

Aim to drink around two litres of water a day and minimise caffeinated drinks, Nerina recommended.

“Both strategies will improve the depth and quality of sleep.”

Reduce alcohol intake

Alcohol is a sedative so it can sometimes be used to ease into sleep, however it is not conducive with deep, restorative REM sleep (which you need for learning and concentration), and it tends to damage the sleep you do get, Nerina warned.

“Alcohol also raises your core body temperature, so it could contribute to spikes in temperature and night sweats.”

Try a traditional herbal remedy

Valerian root has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy to improve sleep, enabling the body and mind to relax in the lead up to bedtime.

Nerina recommended: “Kalms Night One-A-Night tablets contain valerian root and can promote a nourishing night’s sleep.”

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