Have you ever found it difficult getting off to sleep when it’s too hot? Well, that’s not all down to the yucky sticky heat making you uncomfortable. Because your raised internal body temperature messes with your body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that controls metabolism, sleep, and other bodily functions.
Typically, as bedtime approaches, your core temperature drops, but if the environment is hot, it’s hard to dump heat. So, your brain doesn’t switch into a sleep-time mode, and you lie there, wide awake.
Jill Wigmore-Welsh is a Psychotherapist, Physiotherapist and Coach. She specialised in women’s wellbeing in business. She created Faster Sleep, a holistic sleep management program, and we asked her to share her wisdom. She gave us 5 natural solutions to help you drop your core body temperature and prime your system to sleep.
Last Exercise 3 Hours Before Bedtime
Exercise increases your core temperature, so plan to avoid exercising after work or within three hours of bedtime. Reschedule your diary, swap around what you can, maybe get up a bit earlier in the morning, and go to the gym, or for your run, when the weather is cooler. In the evenings, put aside time to practice some mindfulness to calm your mind, still your body and slow down.
Easily Digestible Evening Meal
Foods that are high in fibre or fatty take longer to digest, which will tend to raise your body temperature. To lower your night-time core temperature, you need to plan and design an evening menu of meals made from easily digestible foods. You may opt to include cooked vegetables and fruits rather than raw. Plan to eat earlier, avoid late-night fridge raiding and snacking on carbohydrates close to bedtime.
Wear Cotton PJ’s
It really is easier to keep cool at night if you wear something made from natural fabrics rather than opting for nothing at all. Lightweight cotton lawn nightwear, cotton bedsheets, pillowcases and duvet coverings all help draw the sweat of your body. This helps your skin to breathe and stay an ambient temperature. All the while, you feel calm and comfy.
Drink Plenty of Water
Nature’s way to reduce your body temperature is by sweating. Ensure that your fluid intake is enough to prevent dehydration which can increase your body heat. Steer away from alcohol in the evening. Instead, drink plenty of cold drinks and chilled herb teas. When you go to bed, keep an insulated sports flask filled with water on your bedside table. That way if you wake thirsty in the night, you’re all prepared.
Warm Bath an Hour Before Bed
Have a warm bath at temperature 104 degrees Fahrenheit:40 degrees Centigrade, about an hour before you go to bed. This will bring blood to the surface of your skin. When you get out, heat will radiate away from your body through your hands and feet. This activity will help pull the temperature of your core down a little, which will encourage your system to be triggered into night-time mode. The warm bath will also help you relax, reduces muscle tension, and assist you to ease into sleep.