Fun in the sun is only fun if you can sleep in the heat! Here are seven tricks to help your stay cool and sleep better through the summer!
This year our summer has been hot! The summer brings with is lovely, long, lazy days and brighter evenings. With the summer fun the heat also brings a sweaty, sticky irritability, especially when it comes to trying to sleep in the heat!
When there is a change of season and temperature it is a good idea to respond by adapting daily routines if you can. This includes changes to exercise, yoga, and lifestyle habits, along with dietary variations that might help cool your base body temperature down.
Sleep is Important
We know how important a good night’s sleep is for our mental and physical health, but sometimes in the heat of the summer, a combination of long daylight hours, warm nights, and pesky mosquitos, can make the task of getting deep rest particularly challenging. It can also be especially difficult for city dwellers who face the dilemma of windows open (inviting in the city soundscape), vs windows closed (think Sauna…)!
The summer therefore can mean disrupted sleep and desperation to cool your body down before bed or to stay cool during the night. Now, aside from living in an ice bath or installing air conditioning, we have some tricks and tips that can equip you with some tools to stay cool through the summer, and help you to chill out and unwind into a deep, restful, night of sleep.
First, try these two easy lifestyle hacks to keep you cool all day long:
- Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated throughout the day is a rule of thumb for keeping your body temperature down. Try not to drink too much before bed if you want to avoid extra toilet trips in the night! Remember if you’re sweating more you need to drink more (fluids in must match fluids out!).
TIPS: If drinking water gets boring find ways to flavour it with lemon, cucumber or mint. You can brew a tasty tea and leave it to cool too. Also avoid ice cold water as your body has to generate heat to cool the water down.
- Move slowly – think about the mediterranean lifestyle, their day starts early and in the hottest part of the day it’s normal to move slowly and take a siesta. In the summer heat the pace of life is slower than the rest of the year.
TIPS: Move slowly in your yoga and movement practice. Be fluid, soften into postures, and tap into the qualities of air and water to cool you from the inside out. Using movement in this way can be a great way to unwind and cool down before bed.
How to sleep in the heat: 7 tips to cool your body down before bed:
Try some calming pranayama (breathing practice) before heading to bed. Whilst some pranayama can build body heat (breath of fire and ujayi breath), some practices are more calming and can lower your body temperature and have a cooling effect for your body and mind.
- In this Hot Flush Remedy with Petra Coveny you simply stay in constructive rest and are guided through a breath practice designed for hot flushes in menopause but this cooling breath can be used by anyone who wants to cool down their body heat.
- Also try this Pranayama to Calm with Bridget Woods Kramer, for a variety of different breathing techniques that are calming and cooling for your body and mind before bed.
2. Gentle Movement
Do some gentle movement – although it might sound contradictory to move your body when you are trying to cool down, there are some practices designed to release heat and cool down your body.
- Cooling and Calming Practice with Gabriella Espinoza – this class soothes the nervous system and deeply relaxes the mind and body which makes it great for anyone feeling overwhelmed, and to slow things down and cool your body temperature before sleeping.
- Try a Yin Yoga class like Quietly Restful Yin Yoga with Norman Blair – Yin is a slow practice where you hold poses for longer and focus on the breath. The longer holds release tension being held in the tissues and can help you to sleep.
- Restorative Yoga is a very slow, cooling practice where you are held by cushions and props and you stay in poses for around 5-10 minutes. There is very little movement involved! Try this Restorative Sequence with Jean Hall for a perfect way to slow down, cool down, and sleep well.
Remember that if you prefer to do more ‘vigorous’ movement (like a Vinyasa Flow or Power Yoga) then our suggesting is to do it at least 2 hours before going to bed. This means your body has time to lower its temperature and prepare for sleep.
3. Yoga Nidra
Try the ‘Before Bed‘ course for FREE as part of your 14 day free trial. 30 days, 30 classes to help you unwind before bed.
4. Stress Less
Don’t stress about it – the worst thing you can do when you are struggling to sleep is to stress about the fact that you are struggling to sleep. Stress itself generates energy and therefore heat in your body.
Try a Sound healing meditation to calm your nervous system and slow down your energy vibrations. This change of pace and vibration can instantly lower overall body temperature and help you sleep.
Nutrition – Take care of what you are eating all day, and especially before bed, it make a big difference to your body temperature. This is a huge topic that you can read more about with Ayurveda or in Chinese medicine . In Ayurveda different foods have different qualities, understanding this, along with knowing your dosha, means you can eat according to the seasons easier (see this list of heating/cooling foods and find out your dosha!).
- In the summer it’s a good idea to avoid over stimulating your system with spicy foods, heavy meals, or caffeinated drinks. Foods that are harder to digest will use more digestive juices to be broken down and therefore create more body heat. This means meats, cheeses, and some nuts and pulses should be limited.
- Avoid drinking cold water as your body has to work harder to bring the temperature back down to body temperature.
- Avoid alcohol and any caffeinated drinks as they dehydrate rather than hydrate, and to cool our body down we need to keep it well hydrated.
- Try and eat seasonally, nature is wise and the things that grow from the land in summer are generally going to be good to eat in summer!
6. Cold water is your best friend!
Take a cold shower before bed to bring your body temperature down. If you can’t face the cold shower then simply soak your feet in cold water for 10 minutes.
You could also try adding in magnesium salts for extra relaxation benefits.
7. Take care and prepare
Take care of your space and prepare for bed – this one might sound simple but a few easy steps can make all the difference to being more comfortable on a hot night.
- Open windows
- Turn on a fan (maybe an hour before bed so the air starts to circulate in the room)
- Use cooling essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus (use behind your ears, on the back or your neck or in an oil steamer)
- Change bedding to cotton and light sheets, ditch the duvet!
- Use citronella for mosquitos
- Try ear plugs if you have outside noise coming in through the windows
And if you wake up in the night… !
If you wake up in the night the most important thing is to stay calm and, when possible, keep yourself in a sleepy state.
Try and avoid picking up your phone or looking at screens as this can over stimulate you with blue light and make it harder to go back to sleep. Instead try putting on a Yoga Nidra, a Sound Healing, or reading a book.
Try the Sleep Challenge for FREE as part of your 14 day free trial. Discover how Yoga can help your improve your sleep.
Good luck, and stay cool!
- How to Meditate in Bed to Calm your Mind and Improve your Sleep
- Food to Help you Sleep
- What is Yin Yoga
Written by Joanna Gilbert – Joanna originally trained in Frog Lotus Vinyasa Flow with Vidya Heisel in 2015 and since then has been discovering new ways to connect to her body. Joanna is passionate about combining mindful-movement, with play, and self exploration.
When not playing she can be found working behind the scenes with MFML as the chief Happiness Maven!