Restless Brits each lost more than 125 hours of sleep due to the long hot summer, according to research – the equivalent of almost 16 eight-hour nights.
A poll of 2,000 adults found during the heatwave, between June 23 and August 3, the average Brit lost nearly three hours of sleep a night, and 14 per cent ‘can’t remember’ having a proper night’s sleep at all during the heatwave.
However, many came up with ways to beat the heat, with 44 per cent sleeping on top of the duvet, 29 per cent investing in a fan and half throwing their windows wide open.
Some Brits even went to bed wearing a damp t-shirt, or disconnected all the gadgets in their room in an attempt to stop them pumping out heat.
The study was conducted by Love Fresh Cherries, the industry body supplying cherries to UK supermarkets.
Public Health nutritionist, Dr Emma Derbyshire, said:
Research has shown that eating cherries is a great way to help you sleep.
Cherries contain the hormone melatonin which can help to promote healthy sleep patterns including sleep quality and amount of time sleeping.
The study also revealed 3.45pm was considered to be the hottest point of the day, when Brits felt their most exhausted due to the oppressive heat.
But when it came to bedtime, one in 10 couples ended up in separate beds to try and make sleeping a little cooler.
The most common arguments among too-toasty couples were the other one was taking up too much room, or fidgeting too much. A fifth also bickered over which direction to point the newly-installed fan to give them both an equal amount of cooling air.
Thirty-one per cent gave up on pyjamas and went to bed in the buff to try and bring their body temperatures down.
Not being able to sleep was also voted the biggest peeve from the summer’s heatwave, followed by a general unpleasant feeling of sweatiness.
Not only that, but one in five people are still feeling the effects of the heatwave.
A quarter of people say they haven’t been feeling motivated since and a third still haven’t had a good nights sleep.
Nights of broken sleep can tally up and take their toll on our health, productivity and yes indeed our mood too.
Emma also offered some tips on how to get a good nights’ sleep:
1. Leave smart devices at the bedroom door. Allocate a specific ‘turning-off’ time and then some time to wind down and relax after this. Taking phones and devices with internet into the bedroom may otherwise lead to delayed dozing off time and reduced sleep quality.
2. Eat your way to sleep. Research has shown that sweet cherry consumption could help to improve sleep quality and duration by providing melatonin – a hormone that helps regulate the body’s internal clock and L-tryptophan, which is believed to induce sleepiness and in turn help us to doze off.
3. Drink well to sleep well. Avoid drinking large volumes of fluids in the evening as these may trigger night-time toilet breaks. Drink smaller amounts of fluids regularly throughout the day including when you first wake up in a morning. Many of us don’t drink until later in the day when we begin to feel thirsty.
4. Make mindfulness a daily habit. There has been much talk of mindfulness lately and evidence for the benefits of practising this are beginning to stack up. Sit and clear your mind or listen to some relaxing music to help switch off before snooze time.
5. Write it down. If there are jobs to be done or action points to follow up – write it all down. Getting this out of your system before you head off to bed can help to prevent it all spinning around in your mind.
Time for a good night’s sleep for once!
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.