We all love those glorious long summer days, but summer nights? For many of us they’re not quite so much fun. The combination of late sunsets, early dawns and high temperatures can make getting a good night’s sleep feel almost impossible. In this quick guide we’ll share our best tips for how to sleep in the heat.
Without a decent rest, it’s always harder to enjoy the best the day has to offer. So what are our options? You could try cooling pillows, fans surrounding your bed, even cold socks to chill your feet. Or here Eve Lewis Prieto, director of meditation for Headspace, shows us how to ditch the gadgets and use meditation instead.
This practice allows us to let go of the day – everything that’s happened and everything that’s been said – so that we can rest both mind and body. Happy nights make for happy days, so read on for Eve’s advice!
Shift your thinking
Though it sounds obvious, we often don’t think objectively about where our mind is – rather, we get lost in our thoughts. Sleeping in the heat is no fun, but the more we engage in the discomfort the harder it will be to get to sleep. It can be very easy to lie there and get annoyed and angry about the fact that the heat is keeping you awake; which in turn can activate the stress response which can actually increase your body’s temperature.
A lot of the pain and suffering though comes from ruminating about the situation in the mind and this is what creates the tension; and more heat. The more you feel unsettled by the heat, the longer you’re going to be kept awake given how the body works.
Slow your breathing
At the core of meditation there is conscious breathwork and applying this to your sleep routine can help combat the irritation of heat. Doing some slow deep breathing can be a really effective way to help calm the mind and body down – this actually signals to the brain that all is okay and helps to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which typically rise when we are stressed.
While meditation is not about clearing away or stopping thoughts, it is about learning to be more at ease with your thoughts and more compassionate to yourself and others. In this way, mindful meditation can reduce stress, and help pave the way for a good night’s rest.
The technique of visualisation can also distract the mind from any frustration that only serves to keep you awake. Doing a visualisation exercise can also be a great way to shift the mindset. Perhaps try imagining yourself in a cool, breezy space, the wind is softly blowing on your skin.
We’re very good at creating a lot of disaster scenarios in the mind so this is really about flipping that around, and instead cultivating an image that sees you feeling cool and calm.
Use ambient noise
Another thing you could try is playing soft white noise or ambient sounds, which can work to take your mind away from thinking about how overheated you feel. This works to create a relaxing, peaceful environment.
Try not to worry about a bad night’s sleep
Finally – if all else fails – decide to be fine with not getting a solid night’s sleep. Some nights no matter what you do it will still be hot and sweaty and hard to sleep, so letting go of the idea that you will get a perfect night’s sleep will also help.
Sometimes the pressure of wanting to be fast asleep by a certain time can worsen the chances of that happening. And if you’re worried about getting a good night’s sleep – so many other folks are probably feeling the same way, so be kind to yourself.