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.

“The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to.”

“The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to” said F. Scott Fitzgerald….

Last night was a real struggle. I just couldn’t fall asleep. I felt too hot. I kicked off the covers. Then I felt too cold. I couldn’t find a comfortable position. I tossed and I turned. I stared, angrily, at my other half who was soundly snoozing at my side. Then I wondered how long I’d been tossing and turning for. I checked the time on my BlackBerry: 2:41am. I’d been in bed, awake, for over four hours. I calculated that – oh God! – I only had about four hours sleeping time remaining. Four hours! And that was only if I fell asleep right now. That wasn’t going to happen. And I had so much to do – I didn’t have time for this…

Even if you’re generally a good sleeper, I’m sure you’ve experienced a bad night like this at some point for no apparent reason. So, what can we do if sleep just won’t come?

I quizzed the Sleep Geek on this very point.  Fortunately he has some simple suggestions for us to try the next time sleep is a struggle. Here are the Sleep Geek’s top 10 tips for dealing with those occasional, but frustrating, sleepless nights:

  1. Avoid clock-watching by removing your alarm clock and your mobile phone or BlackBerry from sight. Clock-watching during the night will only remind you that you’re awake and add to your anxiety.
  2. As difficult as it may be, try not to worry about not sleeping. The more you worry, the harder you will find it to fall asleep.
  3. A slight drop in body temperature is a trigger for sleep – try opening your bedroom window slightly or hanging your feet out of bed.
  4. Breathe slowly and deeply.
  5. Get up and do something you find relaxing, such as reading, listening to music or drinking a hot milky drink.
  6. Take a warm bath.
  7. Get out of bed and do something mundane, such as tidying your living room. If this doesn’t make you feel sleepy, at least you’ll have a lovely, tidy room!
  8. Calm a racing mind by writing down your thoughts and worries, whether it’s a family problem or what you’re going to cook for a dinner party you’re hosting.
  9. Try eating a light snack.
  10. If the above tips don’t work, but you find that watching TV in bed, for example, usually helps you drift off to sleep, then that’s fine. The key is to find the best solution for you.

If you regularly don’t get the sleep you need, why not begin your quest for quality sleep today? Begin by experimenting to work out your perfect sleep routine, and please let me know how you get on.  Anyone suffering from chronic sleeplessness (anything beyond a week) should make a visit to their GP.