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How to keep kids cool at night

Sleeping child with teddy

Long days, trips to the beach, cold ice cream…many of us look forward to summer and the adventures it brings. However, most of us don’t tend to love being hot, sticky and uncomfortable.

Even when the temperature drops a little at night, it’s usually still warmer than ideal. However, we have a few ways to help keep kids (and you!) cool at night.

Create air circulation

An obvious one, but creating a breeze makes us feel than little bit cooler. Placing a fan in your child’s room to circulate air is a quick and easy way to do this. You can even position near an open window, if safe, to bring in fresh air if it’s not too hot and humid.

If you don’t have a fan, you could try opening windows and doors in the evening to let cooler air in. Where it's safe and secure, you could also leave bedroom doors open to allow air to flow freely throughout the house.

Alternatively, consider using a cool mist humidifier in their room. It can add moisture to the air and create a cooling effect. Make sure to clean and maintain the humidifier properly to prevent any mould or bacteria growth.

Remember, it's important to prioritise safety when using fans or any other cooling methods. Ensure that cords are out of reach of children and that fans are securely placed to avoid any accidents.

Keep the curtains shut during the day

Keeping the curtains shut during the day can help keep kids cool at night by blocking out direct sunlight and reducing heat buildup in the room. Even if you can’t do this throughout the house, keeping bedroom curtains and doors shut during the day will pay dividends at night.

When you look to re-decorate your child’s bedroom consider blackout blinds, blackout curtains, or thicker lined curtains. These help keep the heat and light out of the room better than thinner, unlined curtains. Blackout curtains have a thermal lining that helps to insulate the room and reduce heat transfer.

While keeping the curtains shut, it's important to ensure proper ventilation in the room. Open windows when the temperature drops, or use fans, to create airflow and allow fresh air to circulate when the outside temperature is cooler, such as in the early morning or evening.

Ensure that windows are properly insulated to prevent heat from seeping into the room. Use weather-stripping or draft stoppers to seal any gaps or cracks around your windows.

Remember to monitor the temperature in the room and adjust the curtains accordingly. It's also essential to prioritise safety and ensure that children can still access natural light and fresh air when needed.

Stay hydrated

Keeping kids hydrated helps keep them cool at night by regulating their body temperature and promoting efficient cooling mechanisms. When children are adequately hydrated, their bodies can effectively sweat, which is the body's natural way of cooling down.

Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining their body's thermoregulation process. It helps regulate body temperature by allowing the body to release heat through sweat and maintain a stable internal temperature.

To help children stay hydrated through the night, make sure they have access to water throughout the day and before bedtime. Encourage them to drink water regularly, especially during hot weather or physical activities. It's best to avoid excessive consumption of sugary drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Opt for a cool bath before bedtime

A cool bath can lower children’s body temperature and provide immediate relief from heat. It can also help to wash away sweat and make them feel refreshed before going to bed.

When giving a cool bath, make sure the water is not too cold to avoid discomfort. Lukewarm water or slightly cooler than room temperature is usually sufficient. Additionally, encourage kids to air dry or lightly pat them dry with a towel instead of using a warm towel, as this can help maintain the cooling effect.

Remember, individual preferences may vary, so it's important to consider your child's comfort level and adjust accordingly.

Reconsider bedding choices

Many of us ditch the duvet or go for a lower tog in the summer and you should consider similar for children. Choose bedding materials that are breathable and moisture-wicking, such as cotton or bamboo. These materials allow for better airflow and can help prevent overheating by allowing sweat to evaporate more easily.

Likewise, go for bedding with a lower thread count, as higher thread counts can trap heat and reduce breathability. A thread count of around 200-400 is typical for a balance of comfort and breathability.

Consider using mattresses and pillows made of breathable materials, such as latex or memory foam with cooling properties. These materials can help regulate body temperature and prevent heat retention.

Instead of using heavy blankets or comforters, try lightweight blankets or sheets that can be easily layered or removed as needed. You could even explore options like cooling mattress toppers, cooling pillows, or moisture-wicking mattress protectors. These accessories are designed to provide additional cooling and comfort during sleep.

Choose thin, loose pyjamas

Thin and loose-fitting pyjamas are generally better for promoting airflow and allowing heat to escape from their body, keeping them cool at night.

Thin pyjama materials, such as cotton or bamboo, are more breathable and allow air to circulate around their body. This helps to prevent overheating and keeps kids cool. Additionally, fabrics like cotton have moisture-wicking properties, meaning they can absorb sweat and allow it to evaporate more easily, keeping skin dry and cool throughout the night.

Loose-fitting pyjamas allow for better airflow and ventilation. They don't restrict movement or trap heat against the body, which can help kids feel more comfortable and cool.

It's important to consider the temperature and humidity levels in your child's sleeping environment when choosing pyjamas. If it's particularly hot or humid, opting for lightweight, breathable, and loose-fitting pyjamas can be beneficial. However, it's always a good idea to consider your child's comfort and adjust accordingly.

Protect against sunburn during the day

Sunburn can cause discomfort and skin irritation, which can make it difficult for kids to sleep comfortably. By protecting their skin from sunburn during the day, you can help prevent any discomfort that may disrupt their sleep at night.

Sunburned skin could impair the body's ability to regulate temperature effectively. When the skin is damaged by sunburn, it can hinder the body's natural cooling mechanisms, making it harder for kids to cool down at night.

Sunburn can contribute to dehydration, as the body may lose more fluids through damaged skin. Dehydration can make kids feel hotter and more uncomfortable at night. By protecting against sunburn, you can help reduce the risk of dehydration and promote better hydration, which can aid in keeping them cool at night.

Overall, protecting kids against sunburn during the day helps maintain their overall comfort, skin health, and body's ability to regulate temperature, all of which contribute to a cooler and more restful night's sleep.

Dress appropriately when outside in the sun

Dressing kids appropriately when outside in the sun can help keep them cool and comfortable, but it may not directly impact their temperature at night. However, it can indirectly contribute to their overall comfort during sleep as it should help prevent against sunburn and dehydration.

When it comes to dressing kids for hot weather, choose lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. These fabrics allow air to circulate and help sweat evaporate, keeping kids cooler.

Use lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and trousers to protect their skin from the sun's harmful rays. Look for clothing with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating for added sun protection.

Although the above considerations are relevant for dressing babies in the summer, it can be a little trickier due to them being unable to control their body temperature or being able to tell you they’re too hot or cold.

Protect their face, head, and eyes by having them wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. This can help shield them from direct sunlight and keep them cooler.

Sandals or breathable canvas shoes are ideal for the summer, helping to keep feet cool and dry whilst also giving adequate protection.

While dressing appropriately for the sun can help prevent overheating and sunburn during the day, it's important to note that nighttime cooling is influenced by factors such as room temperature, bedding, and ventilation. Creating a cool and comfortable sleep environment, as mentioned earlier, can contribute to better sleep quality for kids.

Try to cool off earlier in the evening

Cooling kids off earlier in the evening is a good idea because it can help regulate their body temperature and keep them cooler at nighttime. It can also make bedtime that little bit easier!

Our body temperature naturally decreases in the evening as part of the sleep-wake cycle. By cooling kids off earlier in the evening, you can take advantage of this natural dip in body temperature and help them feel more comfortable when it's time to sleep. It also allows their bodies to dissipate any excess heat accumulated throughout the day. This can prevent them from feeling overheated and sweaty during the night, which can disrupt their sleep.

When kids are cooler, they are more likely to experience better sleep quality. Cooler temperatures promote deeper and more restful sleep, allowing them to wake up feeling refreshed and energised.

It's important to note that individual preferences and environmental factors can also influence how cool kids feel at night. Factors such as room temperature, bedding materials, and ventilation should be considered alongside cooling strategies to create an optimal sleep environment for kids.