With another heatwave hitting the UK, you’ll need to plan for keeping yourself as cool as possible. And we don’t just mean popping your hat in the freezer like Love Island’s Ovie Soko of old – though we still miss him and that holiday hack was pure genius.
It feels quite unjust that we are expected to get on with our lives at times like this instead of positioning ourselves next to a swimming pool with an ice lolly. But it is what it is. Life isn’t fair, we guess.
This might go without saying but top of the tips for a heatwave is staying well hydrated throughout the day – here are the symptoms of dehydration, as well as how to rehydrate and when to seek help. Apply sun cream liberally and often. You might think you’ll be fine on a quick walk on your lunch break, but you can never be too careful.
How to sleep in the heat
The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 16-18C, according to The Sleep Council. Anything above 24C causes restless and interrupted sleep – yikes. But the soaring temperature doesn’t mean you’re destined for bad kip.
During the day, make sure you keep your bedroom curtains closed (to stop the room getting too hot) and avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed (both cause dehydration which makes sleep harder). Before hopping into bed make sure you opt for a sheet instead of a duvet, have a good fan set up (see our guide here) and have a quick cold shower to lower your body temperature.
And if you wake in the night make sure you have a glass of water nearby and cold press your pulse points to cool off.
How to travel in the heat
The best advice we can give you is water, water, water. We previously spoke to experts from the RAC, Rail Delivery Group and TFL to get top tips for commuting to work safely.
It helps with concentration while driving and make sure you are well hydrated on public transport. If your journey is particularly long or sticky, consider popping a bottle in the freezer overnight so you can have a delicious icy water to drink (and hold against on the back of your neck if you get a little too hot). When on public transport position yourself near an open window to live your best breezy life and offer your seat to those who might need it. Oh, and the experts recommend you still wear a mask, if you’re able.
How to keep babies and kids cool in the heat
When it comes to sleep, the same advice applies for babies and children. Give them a cool bath before bed, use a small fan to keep cool air blowing around the room, use minimal clothing and make sure any bedsheets are cotton (which will keep them cooler). Invest in a nursery thermometer to keep an eye on the room temperature and use a cold flannel to cool them down in the night if they are overheated.
How to keep your house plants alive in the heat
Journalist Alice Vincent, who runs the plant-powered Instagram account Noughticulture, tells HuffPost: “If you’ve got plants on a bright, sunny windowsill, move them slightly further back into the room. They’ll still want the light, but the extra heat can be punishing. Raise humidity by misting your plants and, if the top inch or so of soil is dry, stick them under the tap and make sure the water comes through the hole in the bottom of the plant.”
She says it’s important not to panic: “If your plants have been watered recently, dampening their soil further in warm conditions can lead to mould. And, if you’ve got the option to pop them outside, do! They’ll benefit from a summer holiday, even in the shade, as much as we all do.”
How to keep your pets cool in the heat
“It’s really important not to forget how dangerous the heat can be for our pets,” Shaun Opperman, head vet at Battersea Cats and Dog’s Home, tells HuffPost. “Heatstroke develops when a dog or cat can’t reduce their body temperature and it can be fatal.”
Make sure they have plenty of water and shade, as well as cold towels for them to lie on or a sprinkler in the garden for them to run underneath. Dogs and cats can get sunburnt, just like us, so consider getting an animal-friendly sun cream to put on them. And don’t leave your dog in a car, for heaven’s sake.
Should you exercise in the heat?
You can, but take precautions. The NHS says people who are physically active or doing sports are more vulnerable in a heatwave: susceptible to dehydration and heatstroke. This is particularly true if you are exercising outside.
Why not try going for a swim instead or head to a gym? If you don’t have a membership, don’t worry as there are some you can access on a pay as you go basis.