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Can a weighted blanket really stop a heatwave ruining sleep?

Cooler weather is coming for a few days, but with experts saying there may be another heat wave this week, it’s worth investing in something that makes it easier to sleep.

“Our core body temperature slowly drops by a degree or two at the end of the day and during the early part of the sleep cycle, encouraging us to doze off and helping us sleep well,” explains Dr. Ari Manuel, a respiratory specialist. , sleep and ventilation consultant at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Spire Healthcare.

“However, very hot weather can disrupt this natural process, keeping our core temperatures warmer than they should be, which is one of the reasons it can be harder to fall in and stay asleep,” he says.

But can cooling products help? We asked Dr Manuel and Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist and sleep therapist based in London, to review a selection. We then reviewed them…

Cooler weather is coming for a few days, but with experts saying there may be another heat wave this week, it's worth investing in something that makes it easier to sleep

Cooler weather is coming for a few days, but with experts saying there may be another heat wave this week, it’s worth investing in something that makes it easier to sleep

weighted blanket Cooling Weighted Blanket, £69,

Claim: This 5kg blanket is made from ‘HydroCool material’ – a lightweight, man-made material designed to wick sweat away from the skin’s surface and allow it to evaporate. The maker says this blanket will “keep you at a comfortable temperature throughout the night” to “induce restorative sleep.”

Expert verdict: Weighted blankets are popular with people who have trouble sleeping, those with anxiety and restless legs, says Dr Manuel. “The theory is that the evenly distributed weight of the blanket applies gentle but firm pressure to the body — similar to a massage or hug — which is thought to release the feel-good hormone oxytocin, causing a lower heart rate and blood pressure, and bring a sense of calm.

“If you rely on a weighted blanket for comfort, but find your usual blanket too warm and heavy during the heat wave, this lightweight, moisture-wicking version could be a good option. Restless sleepers may find that a weighted blanket can help keep them from moving in the heat. But they’re not everyone’s cup of tea.’

Nerina Ramlakhan adds: “Many of my clients find a weighted blanket useful. The ideal weight is no more than 10 percent of your body weight, and this 5 kg version fits into that category.”

8/10 cooling weighted blanket cooling weighted blanket cooling weighted blanket

cold kisses

Silentnight Cool Touch Pillow, £22.99,

Claim: This hollow fiber pillow has a pressure-activated cooling gel pad that absorbs heat and helps prevent overheating overnight,” says the maker.

Expert verdict: ‘When it comes to regulating your body temperature, a significant amount of heat can be lost through your head and face because these are body parts we usually leave uncovered,’ says Dr Manuel.

“But while pressing your head on a cool, gel-covered pillow may feel soothing, it’s unlikely to help you cool down physically. When the gel pad is cold enough to constrict blood vessels, it can slow down your body’s natural cooling processes by restricting circulation to the surface of the skin, causing you to trap heat instead.”


Hydro topper

ChiliSleep Ooler Sleep System Half King, £399.50,

Claim: This cooling, hydro-powered sleep system “actively manages body temperature to provide deep sleep.”

A bit like underfloor heating or cooling for your bed, the electric nightstand pumps water into pipes that run through a padded mattress topper.

You can adjust the water temperature (between 13c and 46c) and the speed of the pump via an app on your phone and set a timer to let the temperature drop or rise overnight.

A four-week study of 75 customers reported that they were 36 percent less likely to wake up at night due to discomfort and 40 percent less likely to fall back asleep.

Expert verdict: “Lying on a cool mattress topper won’t lower your core temperature, but this can be helpful if you feel like lying on a cool surface and find it easier to fall asleep in a cooler environment,” says Dr. Manuel .

“But you should be careful with the settings because you could be awake in the wee hours and chilly if you don’t get the timer and/or heat adjustments right as the temperature drops at night.

‘People with a reasonable degree of technical know-how can enjoy this and find it soothing.’

Nerina Ramlakhan adds: ‘It is an expensive gadget that is not suitable for everyone. I’m not thrilled that it works with an app that encourages phone use in the bedroom. The artificial light can affect your biological clock and disrupt sleep.’


Cooling body wash

Elemis Cool-Down Body Wash, £30 for 200ml,

Elemis Cool Down Body Wash

Elemis Cool Down Body Wash

Elemis Cool Down Body Wash

Claim: Designed to create a cooling sensation on the skin, this is ‘perfect for ending your day fresh’. It is formulated with cooling menthol, eucalyptus and magnesium.

Expert verdict: “Menthol and eucalyptus oils can provide a ‘cooling’ feeling,” says Nerina Ramlakhan. ‘Magnesium is also widely used as a bath for sore muscles and has been shown to be important in regulating sleep.

“While these ingredients may only be present in small amounts, they are a great way to psychologically prepare yourself for a better night’s sleep.”

dr. Manuel adds: ‘It’s tempting to take a cold shower before bed when you’re feeling hot and bothered, but you shouldn’t.

Cold water causes your capillaries to constrict, and your body will naturally retain heat instead of losing it. However, a lukewarm shower can be a great way to relax and cool down — and menthol can help soothe the nasal passages. So if the mint scent works for you, a product like this can help you feel cool and fresh.”


Airy nightgown

Become anti-flush nightgown, from £31.46,

Claim: According to the maker, the fabric has been “treated with two innovative coatings” and woven with “a flat, cross-knit thread to transfer heat and promote cooling.”

Expert verdict: ‘You might think sleeping naked is the best way to stay cool in this heat, but a nightgown or pajamas in a thin, lightweight fabric will actually help wick sweat away from the skin and keep you dry. to keep,” says Dr. Manuel .

“This fabric is designed to keep the body temperature stable, but any natural fiber, such as cotton or linen, would also do the trick.”

Nerina Ramlakhan says, “Look for loose, seam-free, and stretch-free nightwear, like this one, because it’s less likely to clump or cling.”


Timed Fan

MeacoFan 650 Air Circulation Pump, £87.99,

MeacoFan 650 Air Circulation Pump

MeacoFan 650 Air Circulation Pump

MeacoFan 650 Air Circulation Pump

Claim: This ‘quiet fan’ has a timer that turns itself off at night so you don’t wake up cold. In eco mode, the fan can regulate itself depending on the room temperature.

Expert judgment: “A fan may feel cooling against the skin because it encourages sweat to evaporate, but it won’t lower your core temperature,” says Dr. Manuel.

“However, some people find circulating air soothing, so a bedroom fan can help you feel calmer and sleep better.

“The timer here is useful because the temperature often drops at night, so if you program the fan to stop for a few hours after you’ve fallen asleep, hopefully you won’t wake up cold.”

Nerina Ramlakhan adds: ‘I find that the white noise of a fan helps me sleep, so this quiet model wouldn’t be my first choice. A small, inexpensive travel fan would also work well.’


Move the mattress

“Hot air will always rise in your home, so sleeping downstairs or simply moving your mattress from a high bed frame to the floor should make a significant difference in temperature — and hopefully a more restful night,” says sleep physiologist Dr Guy Meadows, co-author. founder of the sleep school. His other tips include:

Change position: ‘If you normally sleep on your stomach or back, try sleeping on your side. Lying on your side exposes a larger part of the body to the air, allowing heat to escape more efficiently.’

Keep furniture cool: The NHS recommends keeping windows and curtains closed on the sunny side of your house during the day. The sun shining through the windows not only heats the air in your home, but also the floors, furniture and countertops – all of which have high storage capacities and then radiate heat well into the evening.

Create a breeze: as soon as the sun goes down, exchange the warm air in your bedroom for cool outside air. Open your bedroom window an hour or two before bedtime and then a window on the other side and on the other side of the house.

Leave the doors between the two rooms wide open (and close the doors of any rooms you’re not using), place a fan, pointing out the window, in the room on the other side of the house.

When you turn on the fan, it should create a low-pressure system, forcing warm air out and encouraging the flow of cool air through your bedroom window.