Guest blog by sleep coach Lise Dullaerts

Just imagine how amazing it would be to look forward to a beautiful summer without a care in the world! If you have a baby or infant in the family, you’re probably hoping for less-than-tropical temperatures. It’s difficult enough to keep yourself cool without the added worry of making sure your baby or infant doesn’t overheat. In fact, that can be a major challenge, especially when they’re in bed! On a hot summer’s night or on holiday in a warm climate, both we and our children tend to find it difficult to sleep. I’ve drawn on my experience as sleep coach and compiled some useful tips and advice that will help you nail those summertime sleeping challenges with your little one.

Tips for a cool bedroom

  • Have you got air conditioning in your home?
    Switch it on about an hour before your child is ready for bed and switch it off again just before you put them down. That keeps the room nice and cool, but doesn’t dehumidify the air.
  • A fan is another good way to cool down a room. And there’s a great hack for turning a fan into an air-conditioner – just place a bottle of frozen water in front of the fan so that it doesn’t just circulate the air, but also cools it.
  • If you don’t have an air-conditioner or a fan, place cooling elements wrapped in damp cloths around the room to reduce the air temperature.
  • Does your child love sleeping in a cool bed?
    Wrap a bag of ice-cubes in a towel and tuck it under the covers for a while before your child goes to bed. It makes the mattress and bed linen feel deliciously cool. But don’t forget to remove it again before you put your child into bed!

Tips for a nap during the day

  • Make sure your baby’s wearing suitable clothing. TOG values are a great guide in that respect. TOG values indicate how warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags etc. are. On very hot days it’s important to choose thin and light fabrics that absorb moisture, such as cotton, bamboo or Tencel. Babies generally only need a bodysuit or onesie in summer. (There’s a table of TOG values at the end of this blog.)
  • Use light bed linen made of breathable fabrics that regulate temperature efficiently.
  • Between 18 and 19 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for a bedroom. It isn’t always easy to keep children’s rooms cool in summer. The best way to keep out the heat is to put thick, dark curtains over the windows during the day. Blinds and sunscreens outside the windows also help to keep out the heat.
  • When the outside air is warmer than the air inside the house, it helps to keep the windows and doors closed. That way you can keep the heat out.
  • Make sure your child is drinking enough fluids. If it has a good drink before bedtime, there is less likelihood of it becoming dehydrated as a result of sweating during the night. Have you got a child that only drinks in moderation? Try jazzing things up with fresh fruit. Home-made fruit juice or water that has been flavoured with pieces of fruit not only tastes fabulous, it’s also healthy. Or how about something sweet? An ice-lolly is a delicious and refreshing way to boost fluid intake! 

Sleep tips

  • Children always sleep more soundly if they have a regular sleep rhythm. So stick to your normal day and evening routine, however hot it is.
  • Is your child bothered by the heat?
    Try giving it a bath before bedtime to reduce its body temperature and stop it sweating.
  • You don’t need pyjamas – a light sleeping bag, bodysuit or vest is fine when the temperatures are high. However, you shouldn’t let your baby sleep naked because when they sweat, they can quickly become too cold.
    In really hot weather infants don’t need sleep suits, either. They usually prefer to sleep in their vest and pants or a light T-shirt.
  • Does your baby sleep in a swaddle cloth or bag?
    Exchange it for a thin cotton or tencel cloth.
  • Or is it used to being in a sleeping bag?
    Then try a thin, unlined sleeping bag. Many infants and older children are used to sleeping under a duvet. If that becomes too warm, a light summer sheet may be more suitable. Another option is to remove the duvet and let them sleep under the duvet cover.
  • Make sure the child’s bedroom is as dark as possible so that your little one knows it is time to go to sleep. In many cases children have a hard time dozing off to sleep when there is too much light in their bedroom. A dark room can also help to extend sleep time, so they wake up later in the morning.
  • Is your child’s bedroom still too warm, despite everything?
    Then temporarily relocate them to the coolest room of the house in a travel cot. That might be the parents’ bedroom, or even the hallway.

Tips for a quiet night

  • When the air cools down in the evenings, open all your windows and doors to let the cooler air inside your home.
  • If your child or baby is tossing and turning, stroke their forehead with a cool flannel for a short while to make them feel more comfortable.

And if sleep simply isn’t possible, try to accept that your little one doesn’t sleep well in hot weather. Accepting it means less stress for both you and your bundle of joy. There’s no point in both of you feeling frustrated. All you can do is grit your teeth and get through it – like all things, it will pass.