Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

How to survive the heat

Cooler temperatures and rain are finally in sight after a heat wave in the United Kingdom. Sunday saw the highest temperature of the year, with 33 C recorded in the South of England. Whilst cooler temperatures are forecasted, the hot weather may return at the end of the month. The 46 day dry spell saw reservoirs run dry and a hosepipe ban in some areas, so whether it be at home or abroad, here are some tips to help you cope with hot weather.

  1. Avoid the heat! It sounds obvious, but it is very important to stay out of the hottest hours of the day if you are vulnerable to the effects of heat; these are between 11am and 3pm.
  2. Whilst you may want to have all your windows open, it is more beneficial to have windows closed and curtains closed during the hottest hours; when it is cooler outside, open windows for ventilation. Remember, dark materials absorb heat, so if you have dark-coloured curtains it may be better to leave them drawn.
  3. Have cool showers or just washing your face with cold water can help to refresh you and make you more comfortable
  4. Drink cold drinks regularly, particularly water, both to keep cool and to stay hydrated. Hydration is especially important during heat waves because we sweat more and lose more water. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and drinks high in sugar
  5. Wear loose clothing made from cotton
  6. Wear a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors
  7. Remember that heat rises, so the ground floor may be cooler than upstairs, and sitting or lying on the floor can provide relief
  8. Don’t eat a lot of protein, as this can increase metabolic heat and warm the body
  9. Make sure you always wear suncream if you go outside and moisturise in the evenings.

Getting a good nights’ sleep can also be more difficult in hot weather because the optimal bedroom temperature for sleeping is between 16 and 21 C. The following tips could help you sleep at night:

  1. Fill a hot water bottle with cold water and ice. Place it on your knees, ankles, wrists, neck, groin and elbows, as these are the ‘cooling points’ of your body.
  2. Wear thin, cotton pyjamas
  3. Don’t exercise in the evening as it will heat your body up before bed
  4. Before bed, shower with lukewarm water
  5. Turn off electrical devices as they emit heat.
  6. If you want to be covered, use just a sheet, not a duvet
  7. Sleep downstairs if you can
  8. Rest a wet flannel on your forehead as you fall asleep. You can place it in the fridge before bed too to make it cooler
  9. Sleep with your window open
  10. Don’t share a bed (if possible)

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