From sleeping naked to drinking hot tea… we sort heatwave myths from medical fact

TEMPERATURES have continued to soar across the UK this week and for some people, the heat can be a little bit uncomfortable.

There are plenty of old wives' tales when it comes to what to do to keep cool during a heatwave – but what really works?

We’ll all be basking in a mini-heatwave over the next fortnight, with thousands heading to beaches and parks to make the most of the sunshine.

Bookmakers Coral now makes this month just 6-4 to become the hottest June since records began.

Yesterday temperatures hit 27C and today they could soar to 29C in some parts of the UK.

Most of us aren't used to sweltering temperatures and will try anything to stop sweating profusely each time the sun has got its hat on.

Experts have revealed their top tips on staying cool and say there are many small adjustments we can make when it comes to keeping ourselves at a reasonable temperature.

Have a cold shower to cool down

FALSE: Now this might seem like an odd idea if you're sweating buckets, but experts say it could actually help cool you down during a heatwave.

Dr Verena Senn, sleep expert at Emma – The Sleep Company explained that while a cold shower or splashing water in your face might be a short term solution to your temperature, it might not work in the following hours.

Speaking to The Sun she explained: "This might sound nuts but cuddling a warm blanket or taking a hot shower or bath before bed will help your body reduce its core temperature.

"Warmth in your blood vessels in your hands and feet will dilate and help you to lose excessive body heat. 

"While cold water might feel more refreshing in the short term, warm water has a better long-term effect.”

Keep your windows open

FALSE: While you might want to feel the breeze, Dr Verena said that you should actually keep your windows closed and your curtains drawn all day.

She said: “This might seem a bit counterintuitive at first, as you would expect that if your window was open that more air would come through.

"But keeping them shut during the day is critical, as it ensures that your room stays cooler than if the sun is allowed to shine inside."

Dr Verena explained that once the sun has gone down you can open your windows and curtains to allow a fresh breeze to roll over you.

"Although you’ll be dozing off to the sounds of the night, so wear earplugs if this will cause you further disturbance", she added.

Sleep myths explained as experts say you can’t make up for lost sleep

While the tips hear focus on sleeping in the heat, one expert has debunked other sleep myths.

Stephanie Romiszewski, Sleep Expert on behalf of LloydsPharmacy goes through some of the most common misconceptions when it comes to sleep.

MYTH: Losing just 1 hours sleep has a big impact – Stephanie explains: "In reality, losing 1 hours sleep doesn’t have too much of an impact. If you lose an hour, you may find you are a touch sleepier than usual and have a slightly bigger appetite when you awake.

"However, the brain is clever and it will simply just increase the sleep stages it needs into your next night to compensate – so there is no need to alter your routine."

MYTH: You should go to bed if you’re not tired  – Go to bed when you’re actually sleepy, instead of forcing it, Stephanie says.

"It’s important to listen to our body. Therefore, if you’re tired and enjoying the feeling of resting, then sleep may naturally take over, but if not, get up and do something relaxing for a bit.

"This could be reading or listening to quiet music, and then when you start to feel sleepy, listen to your body and go back to bed."

MYTH: Missing sleep doesn’t matter, as long as you make up for it the following night

Our bodies can easily compensate for the odd 1-2 hours lost sleep, however a few good night’s sleep won’t necessarily make up for a week of bad sleep.

Stephanie said: "It is better for us to focus on regulation of our sleep, rather than being obsessed by the same number of hours each night. Now, if you have lost a whole night of sleep, you may need a little extra sleep, for a few hours lost, but your brain will just improve the next sleep cycle to compensate for the stages of sleep it feels it needs.

"Our anxiety over this matter is the real issue where it causes much bigger sleep issues. Imagine if we just didn’t worry about it and let our bodies do their thing."

Sleep naked

INCONCLUSIVE: It seems the experts cant quite agree on whether or not sleeping in your birthday suit is best during a heatwave,

Speaking to The Telegraph, Dr Alannah Hare, an NHS and Private Sleep Consultant at the Royal Brompton said if you wear a natural cotton suring the night then you will feel cooler than if you were naked.

This she says will wick away sweat from your skin.

She added: "However, anything man-made or synthetic will keep heat next to your skin. And the same goes for bedding.

"So if I had the choice between cotton and nakedness, I’d choose cotton. But if you’re choosing between man-made fibres and nakedness, go naked.”

Drink hot tea

TRUE: Drinking hot tea in warm weather goes back hundreds of years and tea or chai is one of the most popular drinks in India and further afield countries in the Middle East also favour black tea as their drink of choice.

Papers published in 2012 previously found that if you ingested a warm drink, your overall body temperature was lower following exercise than it had been for those drinking cold drinks.

Researchers at Loughborough University explained: "Due to the increased heat load from drinking a warm drink, there is a compensatory increase in overall sweat output, which outweighs the internal heat gain from the warm drink.

"Consistently, a 50C drink results in a higher whole body sweat loss (around 570ml vs about 465ml for 1.5C).

"In practical terms, this means that more sweat is produced which is evaporated from the skin surface, increasing heat loss from evaporation and reducing body heat storage."

CHANGE YOUR BEDDING

TRUE: As Hare previously explained, we can become overheated due to the materials we sleep in.

Changing your bedding to cotton or linen could help keep you cool as temperatures continue to soar.

Keeping your bedding clean will also remove any pollen or dust that has gathered on your bed which was also disturb your sleep pattern.

STAY OUT OF THE SUN

FALSE: While the easy option might be to stay indoors – you will also be missing out on the sunshine vitamin if you completely bypass going outside.

Dietitian Helen Bond said that while you should take precautions when in the sun a 15 minute walk is just enough to boost your Vitamin D levels.

She did however say that she wouldn't recommend sitting in beer gardens for prolonged periods of time.

While sleep differs from person to person, it's important that you get enough sleep for you.

DON'T OVERTHINK IT

Speaking to The Sun, experts at the fitness app TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT sayyou don't need to overthink things when it comes to getting a good nights' sleep.

They explained: "A good night’s sleep is vital to helping maintain good mental and physical health.

"If you, like many others, are finding it especially difficult to find the perfect formula for a good night’s sleep in the rising heat, you might be overthinking getting things just right, and that the key lies in actually keeping to routines and simply ‘chilling’ out."

In order to drift off peacefully, you need to create a relaxing environment by working out what makes you feel calm – what works for some people might not always work for others, they explained.

"It needn’t be complicated either, so it could be as simple as reading a book before bed, taking a shower or even thinking earlier on in the day, to get a workout in out in the natural sunlight.

"Exercise outside during the day can be particularly beneficial in setting your brain’s internal body clock.

"If it’s the mornings where you struggle most too perhaps, they suggest making sure your room is dark enough to prevent the outside light from waking you.

"It could be a simple blind or curtain switch is the answer to helping you sleep better this summer", they added.

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