What can we do to sleep better when it is too hot? Here are some explanations and advice with Doctor Bertrand de la Giclais, head of the sleep center at Annecy-Argonay (Haute-Savoie).
“The main enemy of sleep is heat. To fall asleep, it is necessary to lower the body temperature by 0.5 ° C. However, during a heat wave, the body temperature will rise”, decrypts Dr of Giclais.
- Take a shower before sleeping
One of the best solutions is to take a shower before bed, in cold water, or lukewarm if you can’t stand the frozen water. “You can also take a shower at night if you wake up,” advises Dr de la Giclais. Warning: contrary to popular belief, taking a hot shower or a hot bath does not help falling asleep, regardless of the time of year.
Better to avoid sports 2 hours before bedtime, because physical activity increases body temperature.
The doctor recommends, for people who are retaining water or have circulation problems, raise their legs overnight, and run them in cold water for 5 minutes morning and evening. “If you’ve been prescribed medication for it, take it,” he adds.
- A cool room
To cool your room, it is obviously necessary to ventilate the room, creating a draft that does not bother you. On the other hand, it is better to avoid the fan facing you in the bed.
You can sleep with the air conditioning on, on two conditions. It should not be set too cold: “The right temperature for a room to sleep is between 18 and 22 ° C. During a heat wave, the thermal shift should not be too great, so you must rather aim for 22 ° C “, advises the doctor. And the air conditioning should not be facing you, otherwise the air flow can cause a cold.
Even outside a period of high heat, it is important to have good humidity (humidity in the air) in the room. If you live in an area where the air is very dry, you can install a humidifier or a water tray in the room.
- Drink moderately, eat normally
Of course, beware of dehydration. However, “drinking a lot before sleeping means taking the risk of having to get up at night. Ideally, you should stop drinking at least one hour before bedtime,” advises Dr de la Giclais. You can however keep a bottle of water at your bedside, which avoids getting up, and drink small sips at night.
Better to consume cold and unsalted drinks, so no sparkling water, says the sleep specialist. Also pay attention to the salinity of certain mineral waters, which can be high. “The more you drink salt water, the more water you have to drink.”
As for alcohol, everything is a question of dosage: “Drinking large quantities of alcohol dehydrates, whether it is hot or not, at low doses, alcohol consumption does not have much impact on the sleep, “says the doctor. The distance between alcohol consumption and bedtime also matters: the longer it is, the less alcohol will have an effect.
- Finally, it is better to favor food that is not too salty. The classic rules of what to eat before sleeping (avoid protein at dinner, favor carbohydrates) remain valid during periods of high heat.
No need to go to bed early, why not have a short nap
When you have had a bad night, you may be tempted to go to bed earlier the next day, which is not necessarily a good idea. “It is better to go to bed at the same time as usual, and stay on a sleep rhythm. Inherently, the body temperature drops from a certain hour, so if you go to bed earlier, you will have to wait for a or two hours that it happens, “says Dr. de la Giclais.
The doctor does not recommend a nap unless you have slept extremely badly.
In this case, be careful: it should not encroach on the following night. Opt for the “nap-parking”: “It should last less than half an hour flat, whether you sleep or not, the idea is not a deep sleep but a slightly longer relaxation. pose 20 minutes with eyes closed, not necessarily in a pajama bed, it also works on an armchair. “