It looks like August is going to be another hot month for us Brits after the record breaking few months we’ve had this year so far.
Hot weather can bring its own problems for many however. Here are are my top tips for staying well in the heat:
- SLEEPING AND RESTLESS NIGHTS
There is nothing worse than trying to get to sleep when it's hot. Tossing and turning in sweaty sheets unable to get cool, can mean you may find yourself dreading the summer nights.
Even small changes like keeping your curtains closed during the daytime can reduce the temperature in your room. But have you tried a cold water bottle? Freeze a bottle of water and wrap it in a cloth or t-shirt. Just like a hot water bottle in the winter, this will help regulate your temperature and will cool your body down at nighttime.
- REPLACE FLUIDS
We all sweat in the hot weather and there isn’t much you can do to stop it! This is your body’s natural response to avoid overheating, and yes that fluid does need to be replaced.
Make sure you drink more water than you usually do to give your body what it needs to function well in the heat. Cups of Tea can count towards your daily total, but certainly not coffee or alcohol which can have the opposite effect.
If you are busy and find it hard to remember to drink water, invest in a nice bottle you can keep in your car, your desk, or next to your chair. You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you have something to hand. And as an added bonus, staying hydrated often keeps hunger pangs at bay too as you can sometimes confuse your body’s signals for needing water with you being hungry!
Sweating can also deplete your body of electrolytes - essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, and potassium—that are vital to many key functions in the body. A good way to replenish them is by eating foods rich in these nutrients. Foods like bananas, avocados, coconut water, leafy greens, and natural sea salt are all great sources.
- EAT TO COOL DOWN
Finally, drinking water and cold drinks is not the only way to stay hydrated this summer. In fact, there is a range of foods you can eat that will increase your water intake.
Try watermelon, cucumber, celery, strawberries, oranges, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, and leafy greens like lettuce and spinach as they have high water content.
In the hot weather, it’s also worth considering lighter meals. Heavy and calorie-dense meals can make you feel sluggish as your digestive system works hard to break down the food you’ve eaten. While eating smaller amounts, eating over a longer time, or indulging your Mediterranean side with multiple smaller courses, could all help you eat better in the heat.
I hope you have a happy and healthy month – enjoy the good weather safely.
Dr Hilary Jones