Getting your kids settled for sleep can be hard enough at the best of times, but when it’s still light outside – and very warm – it can be even more of a struggle.
That’s because our core body temperature has to dip for us to fall asleep.
The perfect room temperature for sleep is about 16 to 22 degrees, but what do you do if it’s much warmer and you don’t have air conditioning?
Worry not, we’ve got some great cooling tips…
How to keep your children cool while they sleep in hot weather
1. Freeze their pillow before bed
Put your child’s pillowcase or favourite toy in a plastic bag, then the fridge for a few hours before bed.
When you take it out and put it under her head, she’ll have a nice cool pillow to drift off on, or a cool toy to hug to sleep.
2. Block the light out during the day
If you’re out during a hot day, remembering to close the curtains in your child’s bedroom (and any other rooms you think of) will help the house stay cooler so it won’t be like a furnace come bedtime.
3. Leave the attic window open
Heat rises, so if you have an attic or loft, keep the hatch open so it has somewhere to go.
4. Change up the bed sheets
Just as we wear different clothes for different seasons, you’ll need to rethink how you make the beds when the hot weather rolls around.
Make sure duvets have a low tog rating or just use one cotton sheet for those really hot nights.
5. Use a fan
For really hot days, if you have a fan handy you might want to have it on just until your child drops off to sleep. Keep it on a low setting by a window to blow cool air into the room.
6. Wear pyjamas
Sweating is our body’s natural way of cooling down. So even though it may seem like sleeping naked / just in pants or knickers is a sensible option when it’s hot, wearing light cotton pyjamas can actually help, as cotton is the ideal fabric to absorb sweat.
7. Have a cool shower or bath before sleep
Exchange the warm bath or shower for a slightly cooler ones as the summer months hit.
We’re not talking freezing cold – so have some warm water running through and don’t let your child stay in for too long or they’ll get over-cold: just long enough to cool down if they’ve had a hot and busy day.
8. Keep a damp flannel by the bed
If you didn’t get time for a cool-down bath or shower – or even if you did and you’re child’s still hot – grab a flannel, soak it in lukewarm water and rub it over their body – head and the back of the neck are a good place to start.
Leave it on a dish by their bed and they can use it to cool themselves down if they wake up hot in the night.
9. Create a draught
Where you can, leave windows and bedroom doors open throughout the house to let air circulate and get a draught going.
10. Get them to suck ice cubes while you read their bedtime story
Sucking on cold ice while you read to the kids in bed could be just what they need if they’re hot, bothered and fidgety.
Or swap the usual hot milk (if you have it) for cool milk instead.
11. Invest in blackout blinds
We know it’s obvious, but hot nights also mean light nights and often the 2 together can make for drawn-out bedtimes or very late ones.
Blackout blinds combined with curtains really do make a difference so if you haven’t got them yet – think about it.
12. Do something different
Sometimes trying too hard for too long to get to sleep means it’s the one thing you can’t do.
If your child’s been tossing and turning and really can’t sleep, you might just want to give up for a bit, take them downstairs into the lounge and read to them with low lights or even let them watch TV quietly (and something as low-key as possible) while lying on the couch.
With any luck they’ll drop off and you can carry them up to bed – or at least after 20 minutes or so they’ll feel tired enough to go back to bed and nod off quickly.