Tips for sleep in the sweltering heat

summer sleepWell it’s no secret that we’ve been experiencing higher than average temperatures around the country this summer.

When the night time temperatures don’t drop off that much, remember that there’s actually a scientific basis as to why you can’t sleep when it’s hot.

You might not be aware of this, but sleep is actually dependent on a fall in your core body temperature, your internal temperature, so to do that we need to get rid of heat.

It’s also particularly difficult to sleep when it’s humid, as we can’t get rid of the heat.

Though the temperatures can seem overwhelming at times, there are things we can do to help sleep better.

Experts recommend keeping curtains closed during the day, using a fan, or air conditioning if possible, and keeping your windows shut until the late afternoon or evening, when it’s cooler.

Yes, it is tempting… to want to open the windows and doors and let in whatever “breeze” or “fresh air” there might be outside. But that just lets the hot and humid air inside, and traps it there.

Which window furnishings can keep your home cool? 

Awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom-made to shade the entire side of your house.

In the past, most awnings were made of metal or canvas, which need to be re-covered every five to seven years. Today, awnings are made from synthetic fabrics such as acrylic and polyvinyl laminates that are water-repellent and treated to resist mildew and fading. Whatever the fabric, you should choose one that is opaque and tightly woven. A light-coloured awning will reflect more sunlight.

You can roll up adjustable or retractable awnings in the winter to let the sun warm the house. New hardware, such as lateral arms, makes the rolling up process quite easy.

Blinds—vertical or horizontal slat-type—are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss.

Interior Blinds

Because of the numerous openings between the slats, it’s difficult to control heat loss through interior window blinds, but the slats offer flexibility in the summer. Unlike shades, you can adjust the slats to control light and ventilation. For example, when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%. They can also be adjusted to block and reflect direct sunlight onto a light-coloured ceiling. A light-coloured ceiling will diffuse the light without much heat or glare.

Curtains ability to reduce heat loss and gain depends on several factors, including fabric type (closed or open weave) and colour. With such a wide variety of curtains available, it’s difficult to generalise about their energy performance.

During summer days, you should close curtains on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain. Studies demonstrate that medium-coloured draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%. Curtains also stay cooler in the summer than some other window treatments because their pleats and folds lose heat through convection.

To reduce heat exchange or convection, curtains should be hung as close to windows as possible. Also let them fall onto windowsills or the floor. For maximum effectiveness, you should install a cornice at the top of a curtain, or place the curtain against the ceiling. Then curtain at both sides and overlap it in the center. You can use Velcro or magnetic tape to attach drapes to the wall at the sides and bottom. If you do these things, you may reduce heat loss up to 25%.

Two curtains hung together will create a tighter air space than just one. One advantage is that the room-side curtain will maintain around the same temperature as the interior space, adding to a room’s comfort.

What else?

It’s helpful to avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine during extreme heat, and keep hydrated.

Wearing loose cotton clothing at night also draws sweat and heat away from your body, but avoid polyesters!

Though the weather is heating up, we hope you’ll use these tips to keep your home cool into the night, so you can rest easy.

The fashionline team.

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