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How To Keep Cool For A Good Night’s Sleep

By Laura Anderson

Summer is here, and unfortunately for some, so are restless or sleepless nights. Our core body temperature naturally decreases when we turn in for the night, so a cool room temperature – well below our summer average – is ideal to assist this process and help us settle in for a good night’s sleep.

So, rather than suffering through hot summer nights and tired days, what can we do to achieve the perfect night’s sleep?

Make sure you’re sleep-ready

You’re more likely to fall asleep on a hot night if you’re tired. So, it may help to stay up that little bit later.

“If you normally go to bed at 10 o’clock, I suggest going to bed half an hour to an hour later. Then you’ll have more sleep pressure,” says Professor Dorothy Bruck from the Sleep Health Foundation.

“Like when you don’t eat, you get more hungry. By not sleeping, you get more sleep pressure. Then you’ll fall asleep more easily and have a more consolidated sleep.”

Make sure you stay hydrated during the day and avoid exercise close to bedtime, as this will cause your temperature to increase.

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, even the timing of your dinner can improve your quality of sleep. Try eating at least two to three hours before turning in for the night and avoid caffeine after lunch, such as tea, coffee, chocolate and caffeinated soft drinks.

Dress for the season

When it comes to clothing, cotton will keep you cooler than synthetic material. Opt for loose-fitting cotton pyjamas and drape a cotton sheet over you. But make sure you have a doona or blanket within arm’s reach for when you wake up cold in the middle of the night. This way, you can reach for that extra layer and quickly fall back to sleep again.

“Around 3 or 5am, (the temperature is) going to be at a low point, and you may wake up feeling cold,” says Bruck.

On those particularly scorching nights, it may help to jump in a cold shower to cool down.

“That will break the cycle of frustration,” says Bruck.

Don’t underestimate cool water

A bowl of icy water placed in front of a fan can quickly send a cool breeze through the room, or you could fill a hot water bottle with icy water.

“We also recommend pouring some ice-cold water onto some fabric,” says Glenn Smith, Health and Safety Advisor at HazardCo. Placing the fabric on your body will cool you down as you sleep.

Make use of aircon

For those with airconditioning, there are ways to enjoy a cool night without the huge electricity bill by making the most of the modern features and programs available. It’s tempting to simply turn the system on and off when needed. But, switching the system on during the hottest time of the day can use a lot of energy.

“On particularly hot days, use program timers to start the airconditioner before the outside temperature gets too hot,” says Fujitsu General Australia national product manager, Kyle Rafter.

A fresh 23 degrees can maintain a cool environment, which can minimise energy consumption. “Setting the temperature too low doesn’t necessarily cool the room faster. It can make the unit work harder,” says Rafter.

You can save even more energy by keeping the doors and windows closed and only cooling the rooms you are using.

Servicing your unit every one or two years can further extend the life of your unit and increase efficiency, says Rafter.

“Over time, dust and debris can build-up on both the indoor and outdoor unit, restricting airflow,” he says. “This may cause the system to work harder, leading to higher energy usage.”

Aim to service the unit in spring so the aircon is ready in time for our summer heatwaves.

Don’t suffer through summer. With these expert tips, you can create the perfect environment for a restful sleep.


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