Cool your body down
A shower at night can be a great way of cooling off before bedtime. Even if you’re very hot and long for an ice-cold shower, this isn’t the best way to get cool, as your body will increase its core temperature to counter the effect of the cold water. It’s best to have a tepid shower, which will wash away any excess sweat before bedtime, while keeping your core body temperature cool and stable.
You can also cool yourself down before going to bed with a lukewarm bath to which you add a few drops of lavender essential oil or lavender shower gel. My favourite option is to put the oil in a little milk before putting in the bath.
Lavender is a natural cooling and sedative herb, so I also put few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow before bed.
Sleep in natural fibres
The type of fabric you wear to bed can make all the difference when it comes to keeping cool. Synthetics can cause you to sweat more as they aren’t breathable, so choose natural fibres such as cotton or linen, and replace your duvet with sheets to increase airflow and circulation.
Many people are tempted to abandon their pyjamas in the summer, but this isn’t the best plan, as they help to absorb sweat, wicking moisture from your body and bed sheets. Again choose natural fibres and loose fitting pyjamas.
Freeze your sheets!
I hated this because I thought it made the bed clammy and uncomfortable, but a friend swears by it: she puts her sheets and pillowcase in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for a few hours before bed.
Keeping your head cool with a cold pillow is a sensible idea, as your head is very sensitive to changes in temperature. You naturally have pulse points in the head and neck where the blood runs close to the surface of the skin.
By keeping your head cool, you can keep the rest of your body cool too. Alternatively, take a ‘cold pack’ to bed, much as you would a hot water bottle in the winter. Choose the kind that can be put in the freezer and used for injuries, the ones used in cold picnic boxes, or buy fabric bags/pillows of wheat or cherry stones that can used all year round either heated or chilled.
Keep your feet cool
Feet regulate body temperature so if you’re too hot in bed, stick your feet out of the bottom of your bedsheets. Make sure you don’t wear socks to bed, as you’ll overheat in no time.
Dim the lighting and close the curtains
Everyone knows that light and heat tend to go hand in hand. If you keep your blinds or curtains closed during the day, then the temperature in your bedroom will drop, so that you don’t feel as if you’re entering a steam room at night. Minimize the number of lightbulbs you have burning, as anyone who has accidentally brushed passed a lit lightbulb will remember the amount of heat they can generate. Instead, try using energy-saving lightbulbs, which don’t get as hot.
Move your bed
Try getting adventurous with your sleeping arrangements. As heat rises, being as low as you can may help to keep cool. If your home has a ground floor, try moving downstairs, or even consider moving your mattress onto the floor. In one further step, try sleeping in a hammock as this allows the air to circulate around your body for an extra cool night.
Eat lighter meals at night
Pies, curries and soups are always associated with winter, and with good reason. Not only are they warm and comforting but your body uses more energy to digest this type of food, making you feel hotter.
In fact, what you eat and drink in the evening is significant, as the liver will create heat in the process of digesting food and detoxifying alcohol.
Keep your evening meal light and cold, such as with salads or fish dishes, and avoid alcohol/tea/coffee as all are dehydrating—not a good idea in the heat.
Use herbs as your nightcap
Turn to infusions made with cooling herbs instead of drinking alcohol, tea or coffee, and try them cold for a refreshing change.
Look for teas containing sage, peppermint, spearmint, elderflower, hibiscus, rose or lemon balm as these are all cooling.
Don’t let menopausal night sweats keep you awake
If menopausal hot flashes are making the hot weather even more unbearable or keeping you from sleeping, just know that you don’t need to suffer in silence.
The tips mentioned in this article will help, but you may need more intensive help with a supplement. Our Menopause sage tablet, taken at night, is the best place to start. You can get lots more help and advice on the menopause section of our website.
What else can help?
For some natural support to help you sleep better any time of the year, try A.Vogel Deep Sleep. Take this 100% natural fresh herb tincture, made from organically-grown valerian and hops, in a little water 30 minutes before bedtime to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.