7 Top Tips for Staying Cool in a Heatwave

1 Stay hydrated
Hydration is important at all times of the year, but it’s even more
important in hot weather. Becoming dehydrated makes us tired and affects our concentration and can make us feel hotter than we are. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water a day and remember that too much tea, coffee and alcohol can also act as a diuretic causing us to dehydrate.The easiest way to check your hydration levels is to look at the colour of your urine. Anything darker than a pale straw colour indicates dehydration so increase the fluid intake.

2 Wear loose fitting clothes
Loose fitting garments made of natural fabrics allows air to circulate close to the skin. Synthetic fibres do not allow air to pass through so the evaporation process that keeps us feeling cool occurs more slowly. Therefore choose clothing made from cotton or linen over polyester or nylon. Longer sleeves and trousers can also help protect against the sun’s rays if you are prone to sunburn.

3 Keep curtains and windows closed during the day
This is especially relevant if your rooms are south facing. As a general rule, if it’s cooler inside than out, keep the curtains and windows closed to keep the heat out, and open them when it’s hotter inside. Do of course consider home safety and security when leaving windows open, especially when leaving the house.

4 Avoid strenuous exercise
Body temperature increases when undertaking strenuous exercise. You feel hotter and lose fluids more rapidly and it’s harder to replenish them. Exercise earlier or later in the day when temperatures are cooler and stick to moderately low intensity during the hot weather. When you feel hot and bothered, cool the soles of your feet, the palms of your hands and your face first. The skin is thinner here than in other areas of the body and there is a higher concentration of capillaries, so when these areas are cooled down, it cools the blood quicker, sending cool blood round the body to help you feel cooler.

5 Don’t take cold showers or baths 
Whilst taking a cold shower may feel refreshing initially, showers tend to be too brief taking just a couple of minutes, which isn’t enough to really cool down the whole body. Submerging the body in a cold bath can even be counterproductive. When the body is submerged in cold conditions, it tries to regulate our core temperature, which can result in you feeling hotter rather than cooler. It’s better to take a warm bath or shower to help the body regulate its temperature better. Blood circulation is increased throughout the body which helps in the removal of body heat and therefore a decreased body temperature. This is particularly beneficial at night when it can be difficult to drift off to sleep. Our body temperature is lowest while we are asleep so the drop in temperature after a warm bath can help you relax and feel sleepy.
Be careful of the temptation of open water – lakes and rivers, Whilst it can be very invigorating, if you aren’t used to it, submerging yourself in very cold water, even on a very hot day, can be very dangerous, not to mention other dangers that may lurking under the surface. But that’s a topic for another day.

6 Hang out with trees
Being out and about in nature is not only good for our mental health, but trees in particular can help to cool down the area immediately around them. They provide shade and release water vapour through their leaves which has a cooling effect.


7 Getting to sleep in the heat There are many things you can try including keeping hands and feet outside the duvet (if you can bear to have a duvet at all) or sheet, sleep naked, and open your loft hatch to let the hot air escape into the roof space. Other things you can try include placing a cold flannel, that’s been in the fridge, on your forehead; filling a hot water bottle with ice cold water; or wearing damp cotton socks. And if you have a fan, try placing a tray of ice and water in front of it to blow cool air over you as you sleep. Personally the noise from the fan would keep me awake but it may not bother everyone. Alternatively, a damp towel in front of an open window can have a similar effect.

Good luck everyone, stay cool and sleep tight zzzzzzz

Vicky Farmer
Feelgood Factor – The Holistic Approach to a Healthier Lifestyle

Vicky is a Nutrition Adviser and Elite Health Coach with a mission to help the nation achieve optimal health. We are all living longer so it’s really important to ensure we live as long and healthy a life as we can. Healthy eating, a natural approach to skincare and a reduction in the amount of harmful chemicals in the home all play a part in ensuring we are as healthy as we can be rather than simply not ill. For more information visit vickyfarmer.com

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