Summer has officially begun. It rolls around every year (eventually!), but when the hot weather FINALLY makes an appearance, us Brits are often not prepared to handle the heat! From our skin to sleep and energy, there are many health and wellbeing benefits to keeping your cool as the temperature rises. Read our handy hacks to help you chill as the temperature rises:
- Skin soother
The skin is the body’s largest organ and can be particularly sensitive to the sun. Catching the rays for that extra hour may well provide the feel-good Summer vibes we all crave, but if over-exposed our skin can react with hot flushes, irritable sunburn and dry, itchy skin.
To soothe heated, red skin, why not opt for an aqueous cream which contains menthol. Menthol is an organic compound that has many health benefits including soothing skin with a cooling sensation. This age-old coolant is a great alternative to after-sun lotion and can assist with alleviating the pain of sunburn by cooling the affected area. Try Menthoderm® – a Menthol in Aqueous Cream available in three strengths* (0.5%, 1% and 2%), and in a handy 100g travel tube (Paraben and sodium lauryl sulfate SLS free) to cool and soothe heated, itchy and dry skin.
- Sleep easy
As a nation, we’re used to crawling under the duvet and wrapping up for the night. Even in Summer, that habit can be hard to break and many of us are reluctant to cast off our quilt. However, in high Summer, try this simple hack: stay cool by sleeping under just a sheet or, even better, just take the duvet cover off and use that! Thanks to new Outlast technology (used by NASA originally) you can also buy temperature regulating, cooling mattresses, duvets and toppers made from material designed to absorb, store and release heat that the body emits during the different stages of sleep.
If you’re still really struggling to sleep in the heat, try soaking a flannel or hand towel in cold water and apply it to your face or wrists for an instant cool down. . For your legs and feet, smooth over a little bit of Menthoderm® over your skin for a cooling sensation.
And, if you share your home with some four-legged friends, don’t forget that they can suffer in heat too. You can also get new cool mattresses for dogs and cats…if only we could fit on too!
- Drink it in…
On average, an adult can lose up to half or one litre of sweat every day, but in hot environments this can increase to almost a litre and a half an hour. That’s why it’s essential to keep the body hydrated during hot weather. So, what’s the best get way to get plenty of H20? Cool water is a given, but what about the old wives’ tale about a cup of tea cooling you down? Well, there could be something in it! Although counter intuitive, drinking a warm beverage causes receptors in your mouth and throat to trigger a sweat response, allowing your body to cool down without having to ingest a large amount of the warm liquid. Be careful of too much caffeine though which can have a diuretic effect.
Whilst a glass of rose or a cocktail is almost irresistible in the sun for those feel-good vibes, don’t go overboard! You’ll lose even more fluids if you’re drinking in the sun and won’t be able to replace them quickly enough – leading to dehydration (think killer hangover!) So, try to limit your intake overall in the sun and alternate your drinks with water or non-alcoholic versions – there are some great mocktails and “lo and no” wines and beers now available.
- Get fruity
Everyone loves an ice cream on a Summer day, but scientists think that it can actually warm you up as heat is generated during the digestive process to break down the nutrients in this calorie-rich snack3. Try swapping the scoops for a natural frozen juice or ice-pop to top up your vitamins for the day and increase your hydration levels in one hit.
Food plays an important role in regulating body temperature, so selecting foods with a high-water content like pineapple, mangos, oranges and watermelons could help you to stay cool. Cucumbers, which are 95 per cent water, are also an excellent choice for your Summer shopping list.
- Loosen up…
So, what to wear? It’s common knowledge that dark clothes absorb more heat than light colours, so to keep yourself cool try to choose white, pastel or muted shades. Light is also the way to go in terms of the fit. Looser fitting t-shirts, dresses and shorts will help you feel more comfortable and airier. No matter how good it may look, denim should probably be swapped out for materials such as cotton or linen.
As for bed clothes, as tempting as it might be to strip off when your room feels like a sauna, wearing some clothes to sleep in can actually help to draw sweat off your body and mean you don’t feel too sticky or damp. Try wearing just a thin, slightly baggy pair of PJ bottoms or shorts ideally in cotton or linen.
Sadly, unless you can hang out in the freezer section of your local supermarket all day, finding a truly cool spot inside is tricky in the UK. Air conditioning is hard to come by, so most of us rely on fans – and take the trade-off between the ceaseless noise and the intermittent waft of cool air! If that’s your cool-down method of choice, make sure you stock up early to avoid the inevitable rush for fans on that one unbearable week of humid weather.