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10 tips for a good night’s rest in the summer heat

Summer in the Netherlands is always a hit or a miss. We either have a long and hot summer, or barely a summer at all. But when the thermometer hits 30 degrees Celsius, the entire country springs to life, bustling with energy. Yet, along with the heat comes sticky, humid nights that can disrupt your sleep.

 

Studies have shown that high temperatures can significantly impact both the duration and quality of your sleep during the summer months. To ensure a restful night despite the heat, it’s essential to have a plan to stay cool. We got 10 tips for you to beat the heat before your night’s sleep.

How does heat affect your sleep?

During sleep, your body’s core temperature naturally drops. But when your bedroom is too warm, it hinders this process and can make it difficult to fall asleep. A cooler bedroom signals to your body that it’s time to rest. The ideal bedroom temperature is between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius.

 

So when the temperature in your bedroom is too hot, this will make it a lot harder for you to fall asleep. You may wake up more frequently during the night, which affects the quality of your sleep.

 

Set yourself up for a good night of sleep. There are more steps you can take to sleep better during the heat, beyond turning up the air conditioning.

Let’s dive into the tips.

1. Stay hydrated during the day

Maybe it’s a no-brainer but it’s super important to stay hydrated and cool during the day. Drinking plenty of water ensures that your body has enough fluids to cool you down. When dehydrated, you will sweat less and are more likely to overheat.

 

If you drink plenty of water during the day, your body is also better able to regulate your temperature at night. So make sure you stay hydrated and drink at least 2,5 liters of water during the day.

 

Avoid drinking large amounts up to 2 hours before bed to prevent nighttime trips to the bathroom. If you’re feeling hot before sleeping, you could suck on some ice cubes before bed.

2. Eat light

On hot days, opt for lighter meals, especially for dinner. Heavy meals can disrupt digestion and affect your sleep quality.

Try to avoid sugar and carb-laden foods, saturated fats and too much fiber if the day goes on. These nutrients can disrupt your sleep. Instead, focus on foods that are easier to digest and won’t cause discomfort during the night.

3. Dress lightly

Sleeping naked may sound inviting, but it can actually lead to more discomfort. Without clothing, your sweat has nowhere to go except into your sheets or mattress, or it stays on your body. This can hinder your body’s natural cooling process. On the other hand, wearing light clothing can absorb sweat and assist in keeping you cool.

4. Cool your bedroom

This is where most of us start. Create a cool and comfortable sleep environment by keeping your bedroom dark during the day. Close curtains, shutters and whatever else you got. Open windows in the evening to let in cooler air and consider using a fan to circulate air and improve ventilation. If you got air conditioning, lucky you!

5. Think about what you drink

If the sun is high, so are our spirits, often leading us to a sunny terrace or a bar. Choose your drinks wisely.

Firstly, alcohol can dehydrate your body, setting you up for nighttime sweats. Your body is already working hard to stay cool in the heat, and alcohol will only make this worse.

 

While alcohol may initially help you fall asleep faster, it can disrupt your sleep cycle and reduce sleep quality. Instead of going all in, try substituting every alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic option to stay hydrated and maintain better sleep quality.

 

Also, be cautious with soft drinks. Many contain large amounts of caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system and makes us feel more awake. The same goes for coffee. Large amounts of caffeinated drinks can cause dehydration.

6. Relax before bed

Make sure you make some time to relax an hour or more before sleep. Take time to unwind before bed by avoiding screens and engaging in calming activities like reading or listening to music. Or maybe even some light stretching or meditation. These activities help lower your body temperature and prepare you mentally and physically for sleep.

7. Take a lukewarm shower

Before you hit your pillow, take a lukewarm or cool shower (not cold!). A foot bath is also an option. Both reduce stress and set you up for a good night of sleep. How does this work?

 

Your body temperature lowers after a lukewarm shower as your body adapts to the cooler environment. This drop in temperature prepares your body for sleep because our body temperature has a natural circadian rhythm. The body is primed to cool down when you lay down and warm up when you get up.

 

A lukewarm shower before bed lowers your body temperature, signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep. Avoid cold showers as they can shock your system and make your body work hard to warm up again. This will increase your body temperature.

8. Find the coolest spot

Try to keep your bedroom under 25 degrees Celsius for optimal sleep. If your bedroom heats up during the day, it might not be the best place to get a good night of sleep. Consider sleeping in a cooler area of your home or on a lower floor where the air tends to be cooler. Or try to move your mattress on the floor, where it’s cooler.


Use a thin top sheet to enhance airflow and facilitate extending your limbs. Interestingly, your body primarily releases heat through your hands and feet. By exposing your feet from under the top sheet, you can help regulate your body temperature more effectively. If you want to annoy your partner, it helps you cool off when spreading out your arms and legs.

9. Maintain a regular sleep schedule

If you sleep badly one night, don’t try to make up by sleeping early the next. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule to train your body when to sleep, regardless of external temperatures.This helps maintain healthy sleep patterns and ensures you get enough rest each night.

10. Exercise regularly

Don’t skip exercise. Exercise has proven to improve the quality of your sleep. Even if it’s hot outside. You can choose to do some physical activity in the early morning or afternoon. Don’t go too late, this will prevent you from sleeping well.

Bonus tip: Don't worry

One last tip for those that struggle to fall asleep in the heat. If you struggle to fall asleep in the heat, stay calm and avoid stressing over it. If you’re annoyed and start tossing and turning, get out of bed for a short period until you feel ready to try again.

Remember, summer heat is only temporary. Stay cool, stay hydrated, and prioritize your sleep for overall well-being.

If you feel you need help improving the quality of your sleep, feel free to reach out. Our personal trainers can help you improve your sleep. 

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