Jul 15, 2011

How to overcome sweltering summer nights

Sweltering night phenomenon refers to the summer nights when the night temperature remains above 25 degrees Celsius. Many people tend to suffer from insomnia, poor concentration, headache and lethargy during this time because the heat arouses central nervous system (CNS). The high temperature arouses the internal system that controls body temperature as well as the CNS, and make them hyperactive.

Tips for sweltering summer nights

1. Avoid caffeine and nicotine
Caffeine as well as nicotine arouses the CNS which hinder good night’s sleep. Caffeine is effective for 8~14 hours, thus, you should avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon.

2. Avoid alcohol before sleep
Some drink alcohol when they can’t fall asleep. Though alcohol relaxes your body and let you fall asleep easily, it wakes you up once alcohol concentration in the body decreases.

3. Take a shower with lukewarm water
It helps you to have a good night’s sleep if you drop the body temperature slightly. However, muscles tense up, and the body temperature increases in order to warm up the skin temperature if you take a shower with cold water. Thus, it is recommended to take a shower with lukewarm water 10~20 minutes before going to bed.

4. Light exercise in the early evening
Light exercise in the early evening helps body temperature to go down gradually, creating a perfect body condition for a good sleep. Avoid intense exercise 2~3 hours before sleep.

5. Avoid overeating at nighttime
It is hard to fall asleep if your stomach is filled with food. If you can’t fall asleep due to hunger, it is recommended to eat soft food like tofu, egg or banana. A glass of warm milk is also effective.

6. Eat lettuce and lotus root
Lettuce lowers body temperature and stabilize mental mind. Lotus root is also effective for good sleep.

7. Don’t be stressed out about sleep
There is time when you try too hard to sleep. Sometimes, doing a light activity can be better for you. Light reading, listening to music may help you to relax the CNS and to fall asleep.

8. Maintain 26~28 degrees of indoor temperature
It is recommended to lower your room temperature before you go to bed. Sleeping with air conditioner or cooling fan on may cause hypothermia, a cold, or even the death. If you have to keep the cooling fan on, make sure to keep the safe distance and set up the timer for 1~2 hours only.

9. Maintain regular sleep pattern
Irregular sleep pattern make you feel more tired and hard to fall asleep at night. If you need a nap, limit it to 20~30 minutes.

10. Use breathable beddings
During the sweltering summer nights, the bedding can get wet with sweat which can be unpleasant and hinders good sleep. Make sure to use breathable and absorbent bedding such as hemp, ramie and rayon.

Written by Hyojung Kim  manacula@brainworld.com
Translated by Korea Medical Hub

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