DON’T GO TO BED TOO EARLY
When the weather’s sultry, it’s best not to hit the sack too early. ‘It usually takes longer to fall asleep when you’re hot, so don’t go to bed too early,’ says Professor Dorothy Bruck, chair of the Sleep Health Foundation. 'In fact, don't go to bed until you actually feel quite sleepy.'
GET AIR CIRCULATING
Open a window or use a fan in the bedroom to get the air moving over your skin. Air-conditioning or evaporative cooling will obviously help too, but this is a more expensive solution.
STRIP OFF AT BEDTIME
‘Stripping down definitely helps,’ says Professor Bruck. ‘Swap your nightshirt or nightgown for skimpy shorts, underwear, a sleeveless top or – even better – nothing at all.’
HAVE A COOL SHOWER
A cool shower before bed is a good move – and have another if you’re wakeful in the night. Try wiping your hands and face on a cold face washer before bed, and let your
feet stick out from under your sheet or doona in the middle of the night. ‘If you can get the temperature of your hands and feet right, then chances are you’ll get to sleep quickly and stay asleep,’ says Professor Bruck.
KEEP SOMETHING WARM HANDY
If you’re using a sheet only, keep a lightweight doona nearby so it’s easy find when your body temperature drops to its lowest, between 3am and 5am.
Dehydration and sunburn will both harm your sleep, so ensure you drink plenty of water through the day and follow the Slip, Slop, Slap sun protection guidelines.
To stop your bedroom getting too warm during the day, heavy curtains or blinds drawn all day can help keep your bedroom cooler.
When the mercury’s off the scale, cuddling is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. ‘It might be romantic but curling up with your beloved will make it hard to sleep,’ says Professor Bruck. ‘When you cuddle you’ve got to contend with your partner’s body heat as well as your own.’ For guidelines on safe and successful sleeping on hot nights, go to sleepfoundation. org.au.
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