The holidays are here, but how can you embrace the heat, relax your routine and optimise your sleep? Summer sleep is often a travel paradox: more time and opportunity for rest, but unfamiliar hot bedrooms, different sounds and a body clock that can be out of whack.
We asked Natalie Pennicotte-Collier (pictured below) - pioneering sleep expert, clinical therapist and an exciting new member of the Leapfrog team – to reveal her science-backed and do-able tips to help sleep through the heat.
Whilst there is no escaping jet lag or the fact that our sleep is weakened by extreme heat, instead of succumbing to bed dread, I believe it’s a time to dial up the holistic supportive choices we can make.
Summer can actually be the time when we take a fresh perspective on our routine and what simple changes we can make day and night to help optimise our sleep. We know the drill: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and be sober for our best sleep, but at Leapfrog we appreciate it’s about personal choice too.
Let’s focus on some realistic habits that can help us enjoy every day and still benefit from restorative nights - calming, cooling and micro rituals. Choosing small steps to keep you in a rhythm means that any travel / holiday has the potential to become your sleep retreat.
The Naked Truth
A YouGov poll from 2022 found that almost half the British population (47%) sleep in pyjamas, and that men are significantly more likely than women to sleep naked, or just in underwear.
But is it best to strip off or not when the heat intensifies? This is a personal preference and even when we deep dive into the science it can be a mixed picture. To enable sleep we need to experience a drop in body temperature. When we lie down we cool down, and for many nudie summer sleepers – like me - the sensation of free cool air on bare skin is enjoyable.
Counterintuitive though it is, sleeping without any pyjamas or bedding on you could make it harder for your body to regulate its temperature as pyjamas do a good job of absorbing sweat.
In addition, wearing thicker pyjamas under a heavy duvet will disrupt our bodies’ natural cooling process (at Leapfrog we like Peachaus pyjamas for their loose feel and ethically sourced, light-as-air cotton fabric.)
The Natural Way
Man-made fabrics can make your body overheat, whether we’re talking clothes or bedding. Natural, sustainable fibres promote healthy air flow and wick away moisture, ideal for getting that perfect night’s rest.
Ditch The Duvet
Even the thinnest duvet can make you hot, so instead switch to a thin cotton sheet in summer.
Shutter Bedroom Sunshine
If you know it’s going to be a scorcher that day then do yourself a favour and keep the bedroom curtains or blinds shut all day long. This will keep your room cool during the day and into the night giving you a deeper sleep. Did you know that even a small cool in air temperature can take an insomniac into healthy sleep again?
If the outdoor temperature soars, opening your windows lets hot air in. So, if you’re in need of a cool breeze and Mother Nature isn’t providing one, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan; as the air blows over it, fresh cool air will circulate around your room.
I always travel with some soft diffusing ear plugs. I never want to block sound but tiny ear plugs have been game-changing. I use Calmer by Flare Audio.
If you’re travelling abroad this summer, you may want to take a pillow with you. A familiar pillow from home can help to avoid new bed sleep stress. (At Leapfrog we like SNOOOZE travel pillows, and not just because of the name : ) They also have a stunning silk pillowcase that you can melt into wherever in the world you are.)
Try the frozen pillowcase or sheet trend. Fold your pillowcase or bed sheet and pop it in a zip lock bag (to keep it dry) and place it in the freezer for a few hours before you go to bed. Talk about refreshing!
Ice, Ice, Baby
Take a hot water bottle, half fill it with water and pop it in the freezer for a few hours. Then, once it has frozen, simply take the cool bottle to bed with you to help keep your temperature low.
Cold Morning Shower
Embracing a chilly shower is amazing for a sleep health boost. It helps to prime your nervous system to programme the daytime mode - this makes you naturally alert so that you stay in a circadian rhythm and begin wind down after dark.
If the summer warmth leads you to panic you won’t fall asleep, then chew 1 or 2 Leapfrog SNOOZE an hour before bed. The berry-flavoured chewable combination of Lactium, Lactoferrin and Vitamin B6 will literally have you sleeping like a baby. Read our research on how the peptide within Lactium cause babies to relax and rest, and how it can help you too.