Everything you need to know about keeping cool and comfortable in hot weather
As the UK experiences one of the hottest spells on record, academics from Loughborough University give their advice on how to keep cool and comfortable during a heatwave.
Cooling your home
Leaving the curtains open during hot weather has the same effect as using a 1kw electric heater and could raise the temperature of your home by up to 4c.
Sunlight beaming into your home and heating up furniture is one of the main causes of over-worked thermometers - and even in mild summers temperatures in places such as tower blocks and homes occupied by the elderly are higher due to the amount of insulation which traps the heat inside.
Professor Kevin Lomas, who carried out a study into overheating properties, has given some hot tips for staying cool in summer.
“There are lots of things you can do to bring the temperature down by a few degrees,” said Prof Lomas. “But the trick is doing them at the right times.
“For example, opening curtains and windows will allow air to circulate.
“However, the benefits would be neutralised or even reversed if you also allow sunlight to beam in all day - the heat from which becomes trapped in furniture raising the temperature inside your home by up to 4c.
“It’s the equivalent of having a 1Kw or 2Kw electric fire going.
“The trick is to protect against ‘pre-heating’ in the day, and allow hot air and residual warmth to escape at night.”
Keeping children hydrated is also important during hot weather, said psychologist Dr Emma Haycraft, who has developed a child feeding guide.
However, offering them drinks isn’t the only way to keep up their fluid levels.
“There are some great foods that you can give your children to help boost their water intake on hot days,” said 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.”
Ten ways to keep your kids hydrated:
- Water - there's nothing better, it had to be number one
- Cucumber - the water balloon of the vegetable world
- Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries - healthy vitamins and lots of fluid
- Watermelon - the clue is in the name
- Yogurt - 80% water and lots of calcium
- Butternut squash - 85% water and packed with vitamin A
- Ice lollies - but homemade with blended fruit and no sugar
- Celery - 95% water and full of vitamins
- Milk - full of electrolytes
- Tomato - 90% water
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,” said 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.
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: 17/84
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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.
Loughborough was ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018 and 10th in The UK Complete University Guide 2018 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.
Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.