Not to be apocalyptic, but after Britain reached 40ºC earlier this week, and with the warm weather set to continue, it might be time to look a bit more closely at the temperature in our homes.
How to stay cool while you sleep is one of the key considerations. It’s one thing to bake in your home during the day, but quite another if you’re trying to sleep and can’t because it’s so warm.
And, you might have seen tips from people in hot climates, but there’s one crucial difference: the way we build our houses.
You’ve probably heard this a few times by now, but in Europe, our houses keep in the heat. That’s because our summers are (or, well, used to be) shorter and milder. Our winters, on the other hand, can be pretty grim and cold, and usually last for longer.
In short: our ancestors decided staying warm in winter was the much more important thing. A little bit of potential discomfort in hot summers was much more bearable than freezing to death in winter.
But in 2022, with the climate emergency looming, I’m definitely not the only one desperate to stay cool. Our homes’ insulation theoretically also keeps external heat out, so it’ll be cooler inside, but thanks to windows (which let in heat) and record-breaking temperatures, it isn’t working that way in practice.
So what should you do?
How to stay cool while you sleep
The biggest piece of advice is simultaneously simple and difficult: don’t let your home heat up in the first place.
A key way to do this is to keep your blinds closed, especially on south-facing windows. This way, you physically block out the sun and reduce how much it heats up your home.
If your windows face north, it’s best to keep the window itself shut to stop hot air from coming in. It might sound counterintuitive, but it really does help.
Once the sun goes down, it’s a good idea to open your windows as wide as you can and thoroughly air out your home. Even better if you can create a through draught to really get their air moving.
What else can I do?
Of course, there are plenty of other tips on how to stay cool while sleeping. A lot of it is actually about preparation.
Don’t do activities close to bedtime that raise your body temperature – so no (or only light) exercising, and no hot showers or baths. The same applies to large meals: they’re better avoided late in the evening.
Can your bed help you stay cool while you sleep?
Unsurprisingly (this *is* an interiors website), the answer is yes, of course.
The easiest trick is to swap your duvet for a bedsheet when it gets too hot. It’ll still give you a cover, but without trapping heat around you.
And there are other ways to stay cool while you sleep. Consider using a different duvet for different seasons – a lighter tog rating for the warmer months, and a thicker blanket that’ll keep you cosy in winter.
But one of the really important points is to ensure your bedding is made from breathable fibres. Linen and other natural fibres, for example, are great for your body’s temperature regulation.
But if you find them a little too scratchy (although, in my world, there’s nothing better than well-loved cotton bedding made soft by being washed so often), there are breathable mixed fibres, including some polyester, that’ll keep you nice and cool too.
Oh, and don’t forget: this applies to your mattress, too. Memory foam is nice and comfortable, but the synthetic materials mean it’s not breathable and not the best at wicking away moisture. It also reflects your body heat back at you as you sleep, so bear that in mind.
Featured image: Joelle bed, from £1295, Loaf.