Expert Opinion: How to Sleep in a Heatwave
Struggling to get some shut-eye during the heat? Here’s how to up your chances of falling – and staying – asleep
When the mercury hits the mid-thirties and above, it’s hard enough to get anything done – let alone enjoy a decent night’s sleep. While an air conditioner certainly helps take the sting out of those searing summer nights, running it 24/7 isn’t ideal from a cost or power-consumption perspective. We’ve asked experts to share some practical tips on how to get some shut-eye on those hot nights – and, if you’re lucky enough to have an air conditioner, how to keep costs to a minimum.
Our ideal body temperature for sleep is 18 to 19 degrees Celsius. Every degree above that makes it harder to sleep – and anything over 25 degrees can make for a very uncomfortable night.
- Reduce your body temperature by having a cold shower right before bed.
- Soak your feet in cold water for a few minutes and wet your hair – this helps you stay cool as heat is lost more quickly through your extremities.
- Sleep with your feet outside the bed-covers.
- Consider sleeping alone in another room if you share your bed with a partner.
- Heat rises, so if you’re in a two-storey house, consider sleeping downstairs.
Jan Prichard, general manager for customer care at Origin, adds:
- Freeze a bottle of water – the summer version of a hot-water bottle.
- Place damp towels and ice blocks on your neck and forehead.
Stick to a solid bedtime routine
- Stick to your normal bedtime routine during a heatwave.
- Keep daytime naps to a maximum of 20 minutes. Any longer and it can be harder to sleep at night.
- An hour before bed, switch off electronics, dim the lights, have a cold shower, and do some breathing exercises (breathe in for one count and out for two) to lower your core body temperature.
- Avoid exercise and large meals at least two hours before bed.
- You sweat more during a heatwave, so drink plenty of water during the day so you stay well-hydrated.
- If you can’t sleep, get up, have a cold drink and relax until you feel tired.
- Don’t panic: a night or two of bad sleep won’t kill you. Tossing, turning and worrying about it will only make sleep more elusive.
Prep your bedroom
- Minimise exposure to the western sun by adding awnings and blockout blinds to your bedroom windows.
- If you don’t have air conditioning and there’s a breeze outside, catch it by keeping your windows open.
- Opt for lightweight, natural and moisture-wicking bedding, such as cotton and linen (and obviously dispense with the heavy doona).
- Invest in a moisture-wicking mattress topper to draw away sweat or a cooling mat to reduce your body temperature.
Use your air conditioner efficiently
- Reduce energy consumption by only cooling the rooms you’re using, not your whole home.
- If you’re using an air conditioner, close doors and windows to keep the cool air in.
- Switch on the air conditioner at the start of the day before peak temperatures hit so it doesn’t have to cool a steaming-hot room.
- Cool your bedroom before bedtime rather than all day: switch it on 30 minutes before bed and close the door to keep the cool air in.
- Aim to set your air-con temperature to around 24 degrees Celsius. Every degree below that adds five to 10 percent to energy costs.
- Seal gaps around windows and doors so cold air doesn’t escape.
Choose the right air-conditioning system
- Choose a model with a timer or pre-cooling setting.
- Consider the location of a new air conditioner carefully – the compressor should be installed out of direct sunlight and should have plenty of ventilation space around it.
- Choose the right-sized air conditioner for the space. This is the most important factor to consider when it comes to efficient cooling – too small and the air con may never reach the temperature you need; too large and it will waste power.
- To work out which size you will need for the space, use this simple calculation: take the total square metreage of your bedroom and multiply it by 0.15 to find out the kilowatts required. If your ceiling is insulated, multiply it by 0.16 instead.
Be smart with other appliances
- Before summer hits, prepare your home – for example, if you have halogen globes (which generate a lot of heat), consider replacing them with cooler LED globes.
- Don’t use your oven during a heatwave. It generates heat, which it pushes out into the room for up to 30 minutes after it’s turned off.
- Avoid running your dryer (which generates heat and moisture). Dry your clothes in the sun instead.
Consider using a fan
- If the temperature is between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius, you may be able to dispense with the air conditioner and get sufficient cooling from a fan – which can save you over $150 a year in running costs.
- Position ceiling fans above your bed for superior cooling while you sleep.
- If you’re using portable fans, they are best positioned to directly face people.
- If there’s a cool breeze outside, position a fan next to an open window to draw the cool air inside.
- If you’re using portable fans and sharing a bedroom, look to have one fan per person.
- Put a wet cloth in front of the fan to create an evaporative cooling effect.
- Combine a fan and air conditioner to help move cool air around the home and reduce air-con running costs.
- Bladeless portable fans take up less space than a bladed fan, making them a better choice for small bedrooms;plus they’re safe around children and pets.
- For maximum temperature reduction with a portable fan, look for one of the new-generation 360-degree rotating fans, which disperse cool air around the room.
And, we at Solar Gard say…
- Having Solar Gard window film installed on your bedroom windows (and all your windows for that matter) helps combat the sun’s heat as it hits the glass, keeping your home more comfortable. Solar Gard films reject up to 82% of solar energy – providing you greater temperature stability and comfort while reducing solar heat gain.
- To see how Solar Gard can help you keep your cool this summer – ask for a free quote from your local Solar Gard Dealer.
Original article: Houzz http://bit.ly/34xgyVa