So we may not have had the best British summer on record (that’s an understatement!) but despite that, seasonal factors still have an impact on sleep.

Throughout August, we asked you what affects your sleep through summer and the answers were as follows:

The Sleep Council August-poll-results1 What Affects Your Sleep Through Summer?
Predictably perhaps, heat came out top with just over half of the results (52%), followed by light mornings (31%) and animal/bird noises (9%).

While higher temperatures make a welcome debut for us sun-starved Britons, steamy nights and baking bedrooms do little to lull us to sleep. However just a few simple steps can ensure you stay cool and comfortable in bed.

• Open windows – and doors – to create a draught
• Use a cotton sheet or invest a low tog rating duvet
• Try a cool shower or bath before bedtime
• Fill a hot water bottle with ice cold water
• Put your pillow case in  the fridge before bedtime
• Use an electric fan
• Choose a bed with warm and cool side or look for the latest products with climate control covers which claim to regulate shifts in body temperature.

If light affects your sleep in summer, invest in a black out blind or heavier lined curtains. Using an eye mask also helps. Light decreases your melatonin levels (the hormone that makes you sleepy) so it’s important to block out light if you don’t want to wake early.   And while it’s lovely to hear birds tweeting away, it’s not so great at 5am when you want to sleep! If you suffer with external summer noises, ear plugs will be your new best friend.   Take heed that it won’t last forever!

Allergies affected just 6% of you, yet on average there are around 21 million asthma and allergy sufferers in the UK.  From May to September, hayfever descends upon us and if you add to that the dreaded house dust mite ((favourite location: your bed), it can lead many sufferers bearing the brunt of sneezing, watery eyes, a runny or itchy nose and also itchy skin.

Here’s some tips on how to help conquer the dust mite issue:

• In the mornings, throw back the bed clothes and leave the bed to air for 20 minutes to allow body moisture to evaporate

• Keep the room well ventilated and have the window slightly open

• Choose an anti-allergy mattress and bedding or enclose the mattress, duvet and pillows with allergy barrier covers which help to prevent the escape of the house dust mite allergen

• Regularly wash your bedding – over a million Britons never wash their duvets and one in ten does not clean under the bed

• Keep pets off your bed – even better, out of your bedroom!

• If your bed is over seven years old, think about replacing it. It may look okay but it may not be giving you the comfort and support you need for a healthy, refreshing night’s sleep.  Regular mattress replacement is vital to reduce the prevalence of the house dust mites linked with many allergic health problems

When it comes to holiday impacting on sleep, unfamiliar environments, irregular bedtimes and jet lag are the biggest culprits. Try the following tips for getting a good night’s sleep when you are on holiday:

• You can’t take your bed with you but if it’s possible, take your pillow. Not only is it familiar but it will provide better comfort and support for your head and neck, allowing you to get a better night’s sleep.
• Check the temperature. Many hotel rooms set temperature so make sure it suits you. The right temperature for sleep is between 16-18 degrees.
• If you think outside noise or light might bother you, take some ear plugs and an eye mask.
• Make the bed a ‘sleep zone’ and don’t use it for anything else.
• When you return to your hotel room/caravan/tent etc, start your wind down routine as normal and spend at least 15 minutes relaxing.
• Try to keep to regular hours as much as possible especially if you have children.

For tips on combatting jet lag, click here.

What keeps you awake in summer and how do you overcome the issue in order to sleep better?

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