Six steps to sleep soundly through a sizzling summer

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Higher temperatures make getting a good night's sleep much tougher. Here are six steps you can take to snooze a little better through the warm nights...

1) Keep the curtains closed in the day

Blocking out sunlight can help keep room temperature down. Better still, invest in blackout curtains so that you'll also be able to block out light at night too. Any light source, no matter how small, can cause you body to produce hormones associated with alertness, leaving you wide awake.

2) Shower before bedtime

Use tepid water to help cool your body down. Sleep is a time when we move from the more active (higher temperatures) of the day to the more restful (lower temperatures) of rest and recovery. It'll also leave you feeling clean and comfortable and help you to relax.

3) Invest in a fan

High quality fans can be used to lower the room temperature, and provide a source of white noise, which is known to help you nod off. You can also place them by windows to push hot air out and even stick a pop bottle full of water in the freezer until it's a solid block of ice, then place in front of the fan to drive temperatures down.

4) Opt for less layers

That means bedding and clothes. As mentioned earlier, you want to be cool to sleep well. That high tog duvet you bought for the winter is no use on a balmy summer's night. Instead, use multiple thinner layers and strip off the ones you don't need for warmer nights. On the warmest nights, often just a sheet will do. The same with your PJ's, swap out those flannel trousers for something a bit more comfortable, or you can always go 'au naturel'.

5) Go low

Warm air rises so the nearer to the ground you are, the cooler you'll be. In his book 'Sleep: The myth of 8 hours, the power of naps and the new plan to recharge your body and mind', sleep coach to the world's sporting stars Nick Littlehales suggests that you don't even need a bed, just a comfortable mattress that fits your body's needs.

There's no need to throw the frame out just yet; simply consider using airbeds or bedding on the floor if you're really struggling on hotter nights.

6) Try sleeping outside

Summer is the perfect time of year to have a little adventure; go camping or simply sleep in the back garden with the kids for a little adventure. The air is fresher and you'll feel refreshed and recharged because you've re-synced your body with its natural rhythms of daylight and darkness. Just don't go for the 'au naturel' option suggested earlier unless you've got really high fences, or you may prevent your neighbours from sleeping for months!

Try just one of these to start with and hopefully you'll feel less like this...

And more like this...

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