5 ways to help babies and children sleep in the heat including cooling bedrooms down, keeping windows shut and wearing cotton nightwear
We're all perhaps finding it a little harder to sleep during these muggy temperatures. But for babies and children, who often rely on a consistent routine, the evening heat can be harder to manage.
If you're keen to help everyone get a better night's sleep this evening, here's some top tips:
1. Sunlight and hydration
While there may be times in the hottest part of the day where you will want to keep children indoors and away from the hottest part of the day and the strongest sunlight, it is worth remembering children exposed to sunlight often wake fewer times in the night.
Sleep consultant Lisa Lewis suggests - while keeping children well hydrated - it is worth encouraging some outdoor play where you can to both tire them out and expose them to the daylight crucial to night-time sleep.
2. Aim for a stress free bedtime!
We can all get fractious and stressed when we're hot and children are no different. Thedozyowl.co.uk, which specialises in online sleep advice, says that stress and anxiety will lead to greater difficulty getting to sleep so attempt to make evenings calm.
Thedozyowl.co.uk suggests incorporating a warm or tepid bath before bed that will not only help reduce stress but also raise the core body temperature slightly which enables the body to drop its temperature by a degree which we then need to help fall asleep.
3. Try closing windows
Closing bedroom curtains during the day to keep the sun out and the room cool ready for bedtime can be helpful. However in Scandinavian countries households also like to keep all windows closed during the day says thedozyowl.co.uk to prevent warmer air temperatures from seeping into rooms. It would definitely be worth finding out what works best for your house!
4. Keeping bedrooms cool
The optimal temperature for a child's bedroom is 16 to 20C suggests the Lullaby Trust.
Using a blackout blind or netting and keeping a fan switched on with some ice in front of it to help circulate colder air can both help to keep air temperatures on the lower side.
5. Clothing and cool bedding
Wearing light cotton nightwear to bed will allow the skin to breathe and draw sweat away from the body at night - it can often even by more successful than going to bed without clothing - or just a nappy - says Lisa.
On especially warm nights you can use additional measures to keep beds cool such as popping a pillowcase in the freezer for an hour before bedtime which can be a helpful short-term fix to help your child nod off, albeit their body temperature will soon raise it again.
Alternatively, a sock filled with rice and put in the freezer before bed can help make bedding feel cooler and cool down pressure points to provide some relief.
If you're furry friends are struggling to keep cool in the heat, we've some top tips from the RSPCA here.