In the UK we are experiencing an ongoing heatwave, with no signs of stopping. For many people, the sunshine and heat during the daytime is a very welcome change. However, when night-time comes this can lead to a very bad night’s sleep. In an ideal world, a nursery should be kept at between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius, but without an aircon unit, here are some other ways to try and get the temperature down to near that recommended range.
Tips to help your child sleep:
- Keep windows shut. During the daytime keep windows shut so that the very hot outside air does not come into the house. The temptation is to open the windows, but during a heatwave the air outside is likely to be much warmer than the air inside.
- Keep curtains shut, especially in sun facing rooms. When direct sunlight gets into a bedroom it will heat up the room. Keep curtains shut to minimise the bedroom heating up.
- Give children a cool bath before bed. Usually a warm bath is a good plan before bed to help promote sleep, but during hot weather a cooler bath will help to reduce their body temperature before bed.
- Use a fan. A fan can help move air around the room to help keep the child cool. A frozen water bottle could also be placed in front of the fan to help blow even cooler air around. Don’t point the fan directly at the child’s face, and make sure that the fan and electric cable are out of reach of the child. Some people worry about the noise of the fan keeping the child awake, but don’t worry. The child will get used to the noise of the fan quickly.
- Wear less clothes at night. Get the child to sleep in as few clothes as possible to help them to feel cool. A baby can sleep in a nappy alone.
- Use a cool wet flannel on the forehead. If your child or baby is very upset by the heat, try placing a cool wet flannel on their forehead for a short while. This is especially helpful if the child or baby is very upset, as they are likely to make themselves even hotter when they are distressed.
- Keep the child hydrated. During hot weather it is easy to get dehydrated. Let the child have a glass or bottle of cold water to drink during the night. This will help them to both cool down and also keep them hydrated. Bottlefed babies can be given cool boiled water.
- Waterproof mattress covers should be removed. The waterproof sheets that can be placed on beds to help prevent bedwetting accidents getting into the mattress, often encourage sweating. So, for extremely hot weather look into other options for bedwetting – such as nighttime pull-up nappies, using a towel on top of the mattress or use a disposable absorbent mat such as the Huggies DryNites bed mat.
- Fill a hot water bottle with crushed ice and cold water. This can be really helpful to place in the bad to help keep the temperature down. Make sure that the hot water bottle has a cover so that the ice cold bottle does not come into direct contact with the child.
- Reassure your child. Sometimes a little reassurance is all that is needed. Reassure your child that the weather is unseasonably hot and that it is perfectly normal for them to feel hot in bed, but that you want to help them feel better by suggesting some of the tips above.
I hope that these tips help you. If you need to talk through any sleep issues with sleep expert Dr Lindsay Browning, contact Trouble Sleeping where we would be delighted to help.