How to get sleep during the hot summer months

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With the summer months bringing with it some pretty humid nights, Dr Sally shares her top sleep tips for getting better sleep during the summer nights.

As much as we love the joy that hot summer days can bring, a real British heatwave isn’t necessarily all fun and games. In fact, for some people, the summer heat can make everyday life a bit too hot to handle… think stuffy days spent in un-air-conditioned offices and sticky, humid, sleepless nights.

If you’re one of those people who struggles to sleep when it is too hot, then the summer months can be hell. The muggy heat that we experience in the UK summertime can stop us from getting the sleep that we badly need, and increasingly are lacking in. Constant tossing and turning, throwing sheets and blankets off in frustration, opening every window in an attempt to just cool down. It’s no fun.

If trying to get through the day after a bad night’s sleep isn’t enough by itself, studies have also shown that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain – we’ve all experienced that urge to reach for sugary foods when we’re feeling tired. So with this in mind, here are my top 3 tips to help you get a good night’s sleep in the summer heat.

Avoid alcohol

It’s tempting, sometimes, to use alcohol as a sleep aid. However, whilst it may help you fall asleep, it also causes disturbances in sleep, resulting in less restful sleep overall. Too many drinks will also contribute to that carb craving the next day.

Cut out caffeine

Consuming caffeine too late in the day can keep us feeling awake and affect our ability to get to sleep at bedtime, so simple steps such as cutting out caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime may help you to get to sleep more easily when you decide to hit the hay. If you like to have a hot drink in the afternoon or early evening, then swap out your usual coffee or tea, and try a caffeine-free tea.

Ditch the screens

Don’t spend your evening time on tablets, e-readers or phones, as the blue screens have been found to affect our ability to get a deep, restful sleep. Instead, make the most of the long, light evenings to get a relaxing stroll (and ensure you reach your 10,000 steps a day!). When it’s time for bed, try one of the many sleep apps available, to help you to drift off to sleep.

And if the light mornings wake you up way before you need to, you could even consider getting a bit of exercise in to set you up for the day!

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