This unexpected drink might help you to sleep better during a heatwave

Caroline Allen
·Contributor
·3 min read
This tip might save many sleepless nights. (Getty Images)
This tip might save many sleepless nights. (Getty Images)

Over the past couple of weeks, British people have had their first taste of sleepless nights due to the heat.

Yes, we love the heat, but the associated tossing and turning and desperate hunt for the cold bit of the pillow can often leave many of us feeling zombie-like the next day.

This year is different to previous years, too, owing to the coronavirus lockdown.

While many of us might’ve looked forward to a couple of weeks of sun, sea and air-conditioned hotel rooms, we’re now in limbo of whether or not that might happen.

The solution? A warm drink before bed might be just what we need.

Read more: Drinking tea or coffee might help prevent Parkinson’s disease

We’ve heard all the usual tricks before. Keeping the windows open only works if you live somewhere quiet. Wetting the sheets sounds good in theory until you actually have to lay in sodden sheets.

But, having a warm drink before bed, well, that’s something we can get in board with.

We’ve always been told to drink plenty of water during the heat, but nobody has ever mentioned drinking a hot drink before.

Some of us might’ve been aware that hot drinks can cool your body temperature down, but nobody knew that it could impact it enough that your sleep might be altered as a result.

Read more: Drinking three cups of tea a week linked to longer life

A researcher at University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics has looked into how a hot drink can impact our body’s temperature in a series of experiments.

Ollie Jay and his team found that drinking a hot drink before bed can “lower amount of heat stored inside your body” and cool you down ready for the all-important snooze fest.

The reason a hot drink can cool you down is pretty simple; when your body realises you’re drinking a hot drink, it asks your temperature receptors to produce sweat.

It’s then the sweat the cools on the surface of the skin that keeps you cool. Yes, admittedly it sounds a bit gross.

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The results of the research have proven that opting for a hot drink over a cold one on a hot day is the way to go, even though a glass of ice seems like the most logical thing to drink when you’re sweating.

Let’s face it, we’ve all been told at one time or another that a cup of tea or coffee right before bed won’t help you to sleep.

In fact, many of us have probably experienced the overactive brain that comes with a dose of caffeine before bed.

That’s why the answer during a heatwave is actually a cup of warm milk.

You’ve probably heard older family members having a glass of warm milk before bed and questioned their reasoning, but as it turns out, they might just be right.

The warmth will help you cool down whilst the tryptophan present in milk helps you to produce serotonin and melatonin, hormones that help you to sleep.

Read more: Here’s how to make the perfect cup of tea

That’s not the only reason that our parents and grandparents used to take a cup of milk up to bed, either. Having something to drink will keep the pesky hunger pangs at bay and give you an even better night sleep overall.

If you’re vegan, dairy-free or just really don’t like milk, any warm milk alternative will still have the desired body-cooling impact you need for a good night of rest.