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Experts provide top tips for staying cool in the record temperatures

With temperatures this week touted as some of the hottest on record, Loughborough University’s experts offer advice on keeping cool.

‘Close your windows and curtains during the day’ is the message from Drs Chris Goodier and Stephen Porritt in the School of Civil and Building Engineering.

Dr Goodier, who has researched overheating in houses, explains: “In extreme heat situations we Britons tend to do the wrong thing, for example we open our windows when it is really hot during the day, which lets in the heat. We need to learn more from our European neighbours and follow their example."

Simple measures that can be adopted to prevent overheating in homes include:

  • Closing windows and doors during the hottest parts of the day to stop the hot air from outside entering and also closing curtains, blinds and shutters during the day in order to minimise solar gain inside the building.
  • Open windows and doors (where possible, practical and safe), curtains, blinds and shutters when the temperature drops outside in order to let the cooler air in, usually at night. This helps lower the core temperature of the building overnight which will then help keep the room temperature lower the following day.

If you are concerned about how to keep your children cool and hydrated in the heat Dr Emma Haycraft and Dr Lewis James from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences have some tips.

“There are some great foods that you can give your children to help boost their water intake on hot days,” explains Dr Haycraft.  “Fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and watermelon all contain lots of water and are a summery, healthy snack.

“If your little ones are tired of drinking water offer them ice cubes instead, or make your own ice lollies from fruit and vegetables. Yoghurt also contains more than 80% water and is packed full of calcium so great for young children.”

Other foods good to eat in hot weather are cucumber, tomatoes, celery and butternut squash, which all have high water contents.

If the extreme heat is disrupting your bedtime, sleep expert Professor Kevin Morgan says the key to a good night’s rest is sticking to your usual routine.

“Comfort and routine and are the guardians of good sleep,” says Professor Morgan.  “Unfortunately, very hot weather is both uncomfortable at night and it encourages departures from routine – both of which can disrupt sleep.”

Below are his tips for sleep management in very hot weather:

  • Try to keep to your usual bedtime and routines – do the things you normally do before bed.
  • Take sensible precautions to ensure your bedroom is as cool as it can be at night – draw the curtains and close the windows against the sun during the day, but open the windows at night.
  • Reduce your bedding – but remember that however hot it is in your bedroom your body temperature will fall during the night so keep covers handy.
  • Hot weather can make people feel lethargic during the day. If your sleep is disturbed at night avoid napping during the day. During periods of sleep disturbance, sleepiness becomes precious – save it for bedtime.