UK heatwave: How to get a good night's sleep during a heatwave, according to experts

Sussex is set to swelter in the coming days with the Met Office forecasting temperatures to soar to a sizzling 34°C.

The Met Office has extended its ‘extreme heat’ warning to between midnight on Sunday July 17 and 11.59pm on Monday July 18.

A statement on the Met Office website said: “Temperatures will build again later this week and over the coming weekend, likely peaking on Sunday and Monday.

“Some exceptionally high temperatures are possible and cumulative effects of warm nights and hot days are expected to bring widespread impacts to people and infrastructure.”

With unprecedented temperatures predicted to hit the UK, many of us will struggle to get a restful night’s sleep. Eve Lewis-Prieto, director of meditation at Headspace, the leading meditation and mindfulness app, has shared her five top tips for how to sleep in a heatwave, including shifting your mindset and visualisation. Picture by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Speaking to The Sun, Met Office forecaster Steven Keates warned temperatures in the UK could peak at a record-breaking 43°C.

He said: “Next weekend we could have some really exceptional record-breaking heat and it will ramp up suddenly — like someone has turned on the gas.

“Some models from America indicate we could see 43°C in East Anglia next Sunday, which would obliterate the current UK record.”

With unprecedented temperatures predicted to hit the UK, many of us will struggle to get a restful night’s sleep.

Eve Lewis-Prieto, director of meditation at Headspace, the leading meditation and mindfulness app, has shared her five top tips for how to sleep in a heatwave, including shifting your mindset and visualisation.

Meditation helps lower the heart rate by igniting the parasympathetic nervous system and encouraging slower breathing, thereby increasing the prospect of a quality night’s sleep.

Here are Eve’s expert tips:

Shift your thinking

“Though it sounds obvious, we often don’t think objectively about where our mind is – rather, we get lost in our thoughts.

“Sleeping in the heat is no fun, but the more we engage in the discomfort the harder it will be to get to sleep.

“It can be very easy to lie there and get annoyed and angry about the fact that the heat is keeping you awake; which in turn can activate the stress response which can actually increase your body’s temperature.

“A lot of the pain and suffering though comes from ruminating about the situation in the mind and this is what creates the tension; and more heat.

“The more you feel unsettled by the heat, the longer you’re going to be kept awake given how the body works.”

Slow your breathing

“At the core of meditation there is conscious breathwork and applying this to your sleep routine can help combat the irritation of heat.

“Doing some slow deep breathing can be a really effective way to help calm the mind and body down – this actually signals to the brain that all is okay and helps to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which typically rise when we are stressed.

“While meditation is not about clearing away or stopping thoughts, it is about learning to be more at ease with your thoughts and more compassionate to yourself and others.

“In this way, mindful meditation can reduce stress, and help pave the way for a good night’s rest.”

Try visualisation

“The technique of visualisation can also distract the mind from any frustration that only serves to keep you awake.

“Doing a visualisation exercise can also be a great way to shift the mindset. Perhaps try imagining yourself in a cool, breezy space, the wind is softly blowing on your skin.

“We’re very good at creating a lot of disaster scenarios in the mind so this is really about flipping that around, and instead cultivating an image that sees you feeling cool and calm.”

Use ambient noise

“Another thing you could try is playing soft white noise or ambient sounds, which can work to take your mind away from thinking about how overheated you feel. This works to create a relaxing, peaceful environment.”

Try not to worry about a bad night’s sleep

“Finally – if all else fails – decide to be fine with not getting a solid night’s sleep.

“Some nights no matter what you do it will still be hot and sweaty and hard to sleep, so letting go of the idea that you will get a perfect night’s sleep will also help.

“Sometimes the pressure of wanting to be fast asleep by a certain time can worsen the chances of that happening.

“And if you’re worried about getting a good night’s sleep - so many other folks are probably feeling the same way, so be kind to yourself.”