I don’t know about you, but the warmer nights really don’t do much for my sleep patterns! My fan stirs tepid air around somewhat lackadaisically, my dog huffs and puffs and throws himself dramatically down on the floor, and leaving the window open means getting woken up at dawn by overenthusiastic crows.
While there’s not much we can do about temperatures, it’s good to know which factors we can control to help us get our beauty sleep.
For example, we’ve all heard that it’s a good idea to avoid screens and blue light at night, but did you know that stocking up on as much light as possible during the day will actually help you to sleep later on? And if it’s a darker, cloudy day, bright bulbs with a blue hue will do the trick.
Similarly, we all know to avoid stimulants such as alcohol, noise, TV – but worry is also, alas, a stimulant. If the thought of work awaiting you tomorrow keeps you up, allow the scenario in your mind to run its course all the way to its ending: what comes after? The shopping? Tidying up? Putting the kettle on? Cast your mind to the mundanity of life after the event which stresses you out.
Savouring the positive is a calming, soothing night-time activity. What are you looking forward to? What made you smile today? Who’s done or said something nice?
Indulging in relaxing imagery can also lull you into sleep. In your mind, take yourself to your favourite place, or stroll on the beach or in a luscious garden. Involve all your senses: hear the birds, smell the grass, feel the sunshine… feel yourself smile, too.
Back to temperatures! To drift off smoothly, your body needs to be a bit cooler than your feet. In winter, you could wear bed socks; in summer, leave only your feet under the duvet.
Finally, like other behaviours, sleep struggles can become a habit – a brain default. What can you change in your surroundings to break the pattern? Could you provisionally move the furniture around? Or sleep in a different room for a few nights?
If you’re still struggling, you can find some consolation in the certainty that our glorious British weather will all too soon revert to wintry days and chilly nights!