How to Get a Good Night's Sleep in the Heat

      August 21, 2013 08:23

      Temperatures still hover above 24-26 degrees Celsius at night toward the end of August, and prolonged sleep deprivation due to the tropical nights is causing fatigue to many.

      At night, the body temperature normally drops and melatonin levels in the blood increase, making people sleepy. But if temperatures stay above 25 degrees, that does not happen.

      Experts advise trying to reduce body temperature at night. A 20-30 minute walk or stretch in the early evening is a good way to induce sleep by gradually lowering the body temperature. A tepid sponge bath is also helpful, but taking a cold shower can shock people awake as the body naturally reacts to increase temperature.

      People escape the heat to watch a movie at the Ttukseom Han River Park in Seoul on Friday. /Newsis

      Alcohol does hasten the onset of sleep but causes disturbances throughout the night.

      Food can also affect the quality of sleep. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals increase the secretion of melatonin, so eating dairy products or fish daily can help with a good night's sleep.

      But foods rich in sugar and carbohydrate should be avoided at night. Otherwise they rapidly increase the blood sugar level and induce the secretion of insulin, causing sleep disturbances. Going to bed hungry or after a big meal both lead to the release of stress hormones that can deprive people of sleep.

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