As Britain falls prey to one of the worst winters on record, chilly temperatures and rising fuel costs are taking their toll on the nation’s sleep.
According to one survey around half (49%) the population suffers sleepless nights because of the cold. Another says one in 10 pensioners is being forced to stay in bed longer to keep warm as a result of rising fuel bills.
“There’s no doubt that feeling cold will affect people’s sleep,” said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council. “Given the exceptionally bad weather we’ve been having along with rising levels of fuel poverty, it’s no surprise that so many people are struggling to get a good night’s sleep.”
But there are things people can do to keep warm in bed at night without racking up massive fuel bills – and so ensure a good night’s sleep. These are The Sleep Council’s tips for surviving the seriously bad weather:
- Wear night clothes such as pyjamas or a large T-shirt to keep you warm. Natural fibres such as wool, cotton or silk will keep you warmer than synthetic materials.
- Have a warm bath just before you go to bed. This will warm you up and will also help to make you sleepy.
- Have a warming milky drink.
- Try to take some exercise which will get the circulation going and help to keep the body warm.
It is also worth looking at the bedroom, the bed and the bedding all of which play a part in keeping you insulated in the cold night air.
- Keep the bedroom warm, but not too hot, and free from draughts.
- Avoid a saggy bed. It may be nice to cuddle up for warmth but it can be very uncomfortable and clammy when you are thrown together by a bed that isn’t giving you the correct support.
- Look for a mattress which has warmer, winter use fillings on one side. A soft sleeping surface is a better insulator than a flat one. Use a fleecy underblanket to retain the heat.
- Choose a duvet with a high tog rating or use several layers of bedding rather than one single layer. Layers will trap warm air and are easily removed if you get too hot.
- A hot water bottle is an ideal way to keep warm once in bed. Make sure it has a cover on it to avoid scalding and also so that it won’t feel cold in the middle of the night.
- Electric blankets are ideal. Underblankets will warm the bed up before you retire for the night, while overblankets maintain a constant temperature throughout the night. Make sure the electrics are safety checked every year.