Over a quarter of kids (26%) are suffering with the bedtime blues as they struggle to nod off – experiencing a worse night’s sleep in the humid weather, according to a survey.
Despite the dreary daytime weather, summer nights have been warm and humid and 95% of adults, plus 26% of kids, are finding it harder to get to sleep. The survey of 1,000 Brits also shows that parents feel their children are waking up overtired, cranky and upset as a result of the muggy overnight weather – one third of kids are suffering by day.
Dr Adrian Williams, expert in Sleep Medicine at The London Sleep Centre, said, “This research shows the adverse effect that warm and humid weather can have on sleep, and the knock on effects that this can have on your day. Sleep onset is linked to a fall in body temperature which, of course, is helped by a cool environment, plus sleep quality is better preserved when the bedroom is cooler. Disturbances to these things are known to lead to impaired daytime performance.
“Apart from the remarkable frequency of these problems for people in the UK, what also stands out in the survey is the lack of appreciation of simple remedies and good old sleep hygiene on a hot summer’s night – there are many things that are easy to do but can make a real difference.”
Roger Crabb of Mira Showers, who carried out the survey, said, “Our research shows that only 7% of people in the UK and Ireland would consider taking a shower to help them cool off and get a better night’s sleep, even though this is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do.”
Dr Adrian Williams’ seven steps for a satisfying summer slumber
- Maintain a sleep conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and above all cool. A child’s bedroom should remind you of a bat’s cave – bats are champion sleepers, managing around 16 hours a day.
- Mimic air conditioning in your own home using a fan and ice cubes. Point the fan at the bed or cot with the ice cubes in front and ensure the whole bed gets a turn. Or put the sheets and pillow cases in the fridge for a while so they are chilled.
- Shower before bed. Give your child a cool shower before bed and don’t dry off fully. Leaving their hair wet will also keep your child’s body temperature lower.
- Change where you sleep. Sleeping in hammock is cooler, as is a water bed set to 85°F. But if as these aren’t exactly kid friendly, you could set up a bed on or low to the floor, or at least tell them to poke their feet outside the bed.
- Dress for success. Resist the urge to strip your little ones off to sleep nude in hot weather. Wearing loose fitting cotton shorts and shirt will actually be cooler.
- Train your body to keep cooler. Air-con stops your body from learning to cope with warm weather, so avoid it during the day and it will help your kids to take the heat in their stride come night-time.
- Master the basics. Whatever the weather, getting up at the same time, avoiding caffeinated drinks, and not napping too late in the day will help children to sleep better.