Showers forecast for this summer

Not this kind of shower….fingers crossed…Credit: laffy4k Flickr/Creative Commons

Well, the sunshine continues to shine on England…I love the sunny weather, but after a full day of working in my oppressive, airless little flat yesterday, I was feeling horribly hot and grumpy. Hmmph!

Even “Mary Queen of Shops” (one of my current TV favourites) couldn’t lift my mood. I shifted uncomfortably on my sticky leather sofa and sulked. By bedtime, I remained clammy and cranky, not in the slightest bit sleepy. Taking a leap of faith, I decided to try one of the Sleep Geek’s tips for sleeping on humid nights such as this: a bedtime shower. The rationale being that a shower helps to lower body temperature, which is one of the cues to your body that it is time for sleep.

My lukewarm shower was lovely. Cooling, cleansing and soothing – I didn’t want to get out. It even washed away a little of my bad mood; I was certainly feeling less agitated as I clambered onto my bed.

Sadly, my fresher, cooler skin didn’t last long in my muggy bedroom. But, with the additional aid of my Chillow, I was able to drop off to sleep without too much trouble. Zzzzzz.

My conclusion: Wind down and freshen up on hot nights with a lukewarm shower before bed, but plan additional means of keeping cool all night long.

Product review: The Chillow

Welcome to my second product review. Every few weeks I will be testing and reviewing a sleep-related product. This time it is the Chillow – a cooling device.


Phew, it’s so hot, isn’t it? My timing couldn’t be better for testing the Chillow, even if I do say so myself.

I was excited about trying out the Chillow, and not just because of the hot spell we’re currently experiencing in the UK. I’d heard lots of great reviews about the Chillow, and wanted to see for myself if it lived up to the hype.

For those of you who haven’t seen or heard about the Chillow, it’s a rectangular blue pad, the same size as a standard pillow but only a couple of centimetres deep. It’s made from non-toxic, hypoallergenic material, which absorbs heat from your body and releases it back into the surrounding air. I was told that this produces a constant cooling effect and I couldn’t wait to give it a go.

First though, I had to activate my Chillow. This is a simple four-step process:

  1. Fill the Chillow with 1.9 litres (or 3 ¼ pints) of warm tap water – this only needs to be done once to activate the foam core, although additional water may need to be added if evaporation occurs over time;
  2. Leave the Chillow on a flat surface to rest for four hours;
  3. Create a vacuum seal by: carefully rolling the Chillow to create an airpocket bubble, uncapping the valve and releasing the air trapped inside. Note that some water will escape during this step, so my advice would be to do this in a sink or bath.
  4. Leave the Chillow on a flat surface to cool before use.

Your Chillow, which should look a bit wrinkly, is now ready to use time and time again. Easy peasy! I’m amazed that there’s no need for power or refrigeration, although the Chillow can be refrigerated for 15 – 30 minutes if you want a super cool Chillow (but I’ve been warned not to freeze it as this can ruin your Chillow).

The Chillow can be used on any part of the body, but it’s commonly used by placing it on top of your existing pillow – either inside or outside of the pillowcase. Throughout the last week, I’ve tested my Chillow as follows:

  • On top of my pillow, both inside and outside my pillowcase – Anyone who flips their pillow for the cooler side will love sleeping on the Chillow. A few seconds after placing my head on my Chillow-topped pillow, I felt a pleasantly cooling sensation around my head and neck. As for the inside / outside pillowcase option, whilst laying my head directly on the Chillow provided greater coolness, I preferred the softness of my pillowcase over the plasticy material of the Chillow against my face;
  • Under my feet – As someone who suffers from temperature-sensitive feet (freezing cold in the winter and tingly hot in the summer), the Chillow provided instant relief to my toasty tootsies;
  • On my hands, back and midriff – For soothing coolness on the hottest of nights.

I was very impressed with the Chillow’s cooling effect: in fact, I found the Chillow to be so effective, that I only needed to use it for a few minutes when I first went to bed before I felt comfortable enough to sleep. Then I would keep it at hand – underneath my pillow is a good spot  – in case I needed to cool down in the night; I could easily flip away my pillow or simply reach my hands under my pillow whenever I needed a cool fix. (I did notice that the foam core twisted a little after a night under my pillow, but it was easily smoothed out the next day).

My Chillow also gave me huge relief when I unlucky enough to fall ill this week. It soothed my hot flushes, easing me to sleep.

My verdict? The Chillow is a simple, effective cooling aid, perfect for quickly cooling you down on those hot, sticky, summer nights – without the irritating hum of a fan! So, don’t sweat it people, chill out with a Chillow!

The Chillow is available from We Love Sleep.

How to keep cool at night this summer

After a bitterly cold winter, it seems that summer is finally with us. How I love the long hot summer days; sitting in the park surrounded by friends, all smelling of suntan lotion. How wonderful….

But the summer heat also brings hot, sweaty, sleepless nights. Particularly when you live in a flat in central London, like me. Even in the depths of winter my flat is balmy, so during the warmer months it can be unbearable. And have you tried sleeping in Shoreditch with the windows open? The continuous stream of traffic, copious sirens and late-night drinkers hardly make for a restful night.

Thankfully the Sleep Geek has some wise words to help me – and you – survive those sticky summer nights: just click here for his practical hints and tips.

The excellent advice includes two product recommendations, one of them for the Chillow; a product the Sleep Geek describes as “a brilliant budget product” for combating overheating in bed. For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of the Chillow, I’ve included a couple of images. Essentially, it’s a blue pad, the same size as an average pillow, that sits on top of your existing pillow and is designed to keep you as cool as a cucumber all through the night. It is also praised highly by my mum and my other half’s mum – two ladies with high standards and impeccable taste. With all these commendations, I’ve just got to try it.

So, on this sticky evening, and for the next few nights, I will be testing the Chillow. Look out for my review next week, sleep-lovers.

Feeling hot, hot, hot…

It’s hot in Dubai, really hot! Today I’ve been sunbathing (well, sitting in the shade wearing factor 50 sun block – does that count?) in 40°C! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so hot and sticky; like Britain’s Eurovision chances i’m fading fast…. But before you dismiss me as a typical Brit, always complaining about the weather, and stop reading this post, hear me out….

I’m not here to write about the weather; I’m here to write about sleep, and how to get more top quality sleep. But you can’t deny that the outside temperature and sleep quality are often linked. I only have think back to about a week ago, when temperatures in the UK soared and I spent three sweaty nights struggling to sleep.

Despite the enduring heat and humidity, I have slept wonderfully here, thanks to the very clever man who invented air conditioning – Willis Haviland Carrier just in case you were wondering. Air conditioning is an extravagance though, especially if you live in a country with a varied climate like me, where the hot, humid days are greatly outnumbered by cool rainy ones. But, oh how I wish I could justify the expense on those hot, sweaty, sleepless nights.

The Sleep Geek has promised to share his top tips for sleeping on sticky summer nights very soon. In the meantime, here’s a little tip that usually works for me when I’m feeling too hot and struggling to sleep:

Generously apply a cooling moisturiser, such as an aftersun lotion, to cool and soothe hot skin. For an extra cooling experience, try keeping your favourite moisturiser in the fridge.