There’s no denying it: hot weather is an absolute nuisance when it comes to bedtime. Those sweltering climes can leave us feeling uncomfortable and sweaty – and, as we lie listlessly in bed with fans whirring ineffectively nearby, we find ourselves becoming increasingly frustrated.
Opening the windows leaks disruptive street noise into our room, dampening the sheets is just plain uncomfortable and shedding our pyjamas can make things even worse. So what’s the solution to getting a good night’s sleep in the heat?
Well, somewhat surprisingly, it could be drinking a warm bevvy before bed.
Ollie Jay, a researcher at University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics, has conducted a series of experiments into the effect a hot drink can have on your overall body temperature.
Vindicating grans everywhere, he and his researchers discovered that drinking a hot bevvy can actually cool you down, because it results “in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body”.
Why? Well, it’s very simple: the moment the hot liquid makes contact with the body’s temperature receptors, the brain tells the body to produce more sweat.
This sweat then cools on the surface of the skin, reducing the sensation of being too warm and ultimately, making us feel cooler.
The results of the experiment have made it clear that a steaming cup of tea or coffee is definitely a better option to an iced drink on a sweltering hot day.
But, when it comes to bedtime, warm milk is the answer.
Not only will it help to cool you down, but this bedtime drink also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you produce serotonin and melatonin, hormones that help you to sleep. And, for vegans, it’s worth noting that almond milk, similarly, is thought to have serious insomnia-busting properties: it’s rich in B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium, all of which help regulate brain activity, relax the muscles and increase the secretion of sleep-inducing compounds such as melatonin.
Better still, drinking warm milk is an ideal way to avoid going to bed on an empty stomach: hunger pangs have been shown to keep to brain mentally alert, so it can be far more difficult to get a full night’s sleep if hunger hits during the night.
To be honest, we’re willing to try anything at this point: roll on the warm drinks at bedtime.