Taking a shower before sleeping, wearing cotton pajamas and even putting bed sheets in the freezer are some tips to foil the heat
The summer carries on with high temperatures, making it difficult for many people to sleep at night. With that in mind, anything goes to avoid the heat; many even consider sleeping on the kitchen floor, trying to find the coolest spot of the house.
Used to going to bed at around 11 pm, 36-year-old Carla Regina Bezerra Cordeiro, from Antonina, says that now she can only sleep after 3 am. “I leave the whole house opened, keep my fan on and lay down, trying to fall asleep. But nothing works, since the heat is unbearable.”
During the day, her family keeps the fan on, and take a cold shower several times a day to keep up with the heat. “But at night is worse, because you simply can’t rest anywhere,” she says.
Just like her, 36-year-old writer Sandi Bart also turns on the fan, tosses out the blankets, and wriggles for hours in bed until he is worn down by the fatigue. “And even after I sleep, I keep getting awake several times, always bothered,” complained the inhabitant of Araucária, in the metropolitan region of Curitiba, who then spends the whole day drowsy on account of the sleepless nights.
According to otorhinolaryngologist Fernando Cesar Mariano, an expert in sleep medicine, a pleasant temperature is one of the primordial factors for a good night of sleep. “The bedroom should be dark, silent, and the room temperature should be between 17 and 27ºC to induce sleep,” points out the doctor.
In situations in which the thermometer is registering higher temperatures, the body’s heart and respiratory frequencies rise, harming the rest. Besides, the longer days due to the summer daylight saving time also contribute to sleepless nights. “When it gets dark, our bodies secrete a hormone called melatonin, essential to induce sleep. Since the days are longer, we take longer to produce this hormone and, as a consequence, go to sleep later,” explains Mariano. What to do?
The orientation, then, is to turn off the lights and avoid using electronic devices before going to bed, since the light emitted by them also impairs the production of melatonin. “It is also advisable to drink a lot of fluids a few hours before going to sleep, having a shower before going to bed, avoid physical exercises at night, and try to sleep always in the same time,” suggests the expert.
For 63-year-old driver José Belmiro, placing a bottle of frozen water in front of the fan is the best “improvised” way of cooling the room. In addition to that, he leaves another bowl filled with water, or a towel, next to the bed, to ensure a more humid air and make breathing easier. That strategy also works for people who have air conditioners, since it can make the air extremely dry and cause respiratory issues.
Pajamas and clothes made of cotton also help to withstand the heat, since they absorb the sweat, enabling a more pleasant night. “Synthetic materials don’t do that, so the sweat remains on the body, making you feel more heat,” explains doctor Fernando Cesar Mariano.
Another option is wrapping pillowcases and sheets in a plastic bag and leaving them for a few minutes in the freezer, before going to bed.
Although unusual, this strategy may provide relief when it’s time to sleep.
It is worth pointing out that no medication is recommended for the “insomnia” caused by heat. However, if the temperature drops and the person still have difficulty sleeping for more than one week, it is important to seek an expert in sleep medicine to check if there is a need for treatment.
Tips to sleep better on hot nights:
- Turn down the room lights
- Avoid using electronic devices before going to sleep
- Drink plenty of liquids a few hours before going to bed
- Avoid physical exercises at night
- Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
- Have a shower before going to bed
- Place a bottle of frozen water in front of the fan
- If the air conditioner is on, leave a bowl with water or a wet towel next to the bed
- Wear pajamas or clothes made of cotton
- Place pillowcases and sheets in a plastic bag and leave them for a few minutes in the freezer, before going to bed.
READ IT IN PORTUGUESE:
Tomar banho antes de dormir, usar pijamas de algodão e até colocar as roupas de cama no freezer são algumas dicas para despistar o calor