News that the UK is in the midst of a heatwave may have most of us rejoicing. But there’s no doubt the hot weather brings its own challenges.
While we all have our go-to hacks for easing our discomfort in these sweaty times - sleeping with the fan on and throwing the windows wide open - could we be making some hot weather faux-pas in our quest to stay cool?
Here are some of the common mistakes people make during a heatwave
Sleeping with the fan on
Sticking a fan literally inches from your body might seem like the only way to get through these sticky summer nights, but there’s a whole plethora of reasons why you shouldn’t sleep with the fan on.
According to Sleep Advisor, there are a number of health risks involved with sleeping by a fan from the spread of allergies to sore muscles an causing dry skin due to the constant flow of cool air on your body.
Besides fans don’t actually cool a room, but heat it instead, thanks to the increase in electricity adding to the warmth of the room.
According to How Stuff Works instead of cooling a room what a fan does is create a wind chill effect.
“By blowing air around, the fan makes it easier for the air to evaporate sweat from your skin, which is how you eliminate body heat,” the site explains.
Click below for fans under £20 to see you through the UK heatwave:
Not drinking enough water
Sure we know we need to up our O2 intake in the hot weather, but turns out we’re not chugging nearly enough of the clear stuff.
New research by Actiph Water reveals an overwhelming nine out ten (90%) Brits aren't getting the recommended amount of water a day.
More so, only 19% actually know they should be drinking between 1.4 – 1.8 litres of water a day, and one in ten (10%) know that they only drink a paltry 250ml each day.
So how much should we be drinking in the heat?
On a normal day people need around 1.5 to 2 litres of water day, which is about eight 10 glasses.
But in hot weather you can become dehydrated quicker, so drink more often and aim for at least two litres.
During pregnancy, expectant woman are recommended to drink an extra 2 glasses of water each day, whilst women who are breastfeeding need an extra 3 to 4 glasses of water each day.
The effects of dehydration, specifically in hot, dry and humid weather cannot be understated and despite 72% saying they experience dehydration‐relation fatigue, two‐thirds (66%) will reach for a fizzy or caffeinated drink instead of water.
Wearing the wrong clothes
When it comes to what to wear in the heat, it is tempting to follow the less is more mantra, but the type of clothes we wear in hot weather can make a huge difference.
Synthetic materials like polyester or nylon, can make you feel hot and uncomfortable mainly because they’re not particularly breathable.
The NHS recommends sticking to loose, clothing made from breathable fabrics to help keep you cool.
They also recommend donning a hat and sunglasses if you do venture outdoors.
Not keeping windows shut
Whilst it might be tempting to leave windows open during a heatwave, this might actually cause your house to become warmer.
“The general rule of thumb is if the temperature outside is greater than it is inside (i.e. during the day) then you should keep the windows shut, as you are just letting hot air in otherwise,” explains Lucy Askew, spokesperson for www.Hillarys.co.uk.
But once day turns into evening you can crack the windows open, allowing cooler air into the house.
“If you must open windows during the day, then open them at opposite sides of the house, as this will cause a cool draught to flow through the house,” Askew adds.
Not closing curtains in the day
On the same theme, we really should be keeping our curtains shut when the mercury is rising.
“Whilst it’s nice to have some form of natural light coming into the house during the day, but that’s a sure-fire way to heat up your home,” explains Askew.
“Keep those blinds shut during the day and you’ll stop the sun from turning hour home into a greenhouse. If you have your windows open at night, opening your blinds or curtains slightly will allow a draught to flow through.”
Not switching lights off
“Like electrical appliances, computers, TVs etc.. bulbs can generate a lot of unnecessary heat, adding to the heat already in the house,” explains Askew.
She recommends switching off all lighting appliances – including anything that emits light.
“Otherwise you could be adding extra heat, which you don’t want when you’re already sweltering.”
Not switching up your bed sheets
Hands up how many of you are still sleeping snuggled under your winter duvet? But in these sticky times, a high tog duvet isn’t going to cut it.
According to John Lewis a summer duvet is between 1.0 – 4.5 tog.
“If you’re finding it hard to sleep at night because of the heat, change your sheets to cotton ones ASAP, as cotton sheets make it easier for your skin to breathe,” recommends Askew.
“Another trick when you are changing your sheets – if you have time – is to place them in the freezer for 15 minutes, as they it will feel cool when you slip into bed.”
Not adapting your exercise regime
When you’ve got your fitness regime down, you don’t want anything, least of all hot weather to disrupt it, but certain types of exercise can actually be quite dangerous during a heatwave.
PT Jason Briggs at Shoe Hero says as long as precautionary measures are adopted and various adaptations made, you don’t have to press pause on your workout.
He recommends skipping running during the lunch time break, when the sun is at its hottest, and avoiding attempting personal bests.
Also recommended is opting for something a little less strenuous but, still super effective.
And of course you should drink plenty of water, slap on the SPF and stop if you start to experience any symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Symptoms of overheating are: headache, dizziness, excessive sweating, clammy skin, confusion, intense thirst, weakness and cramps.
Sticking the aircon on the minute you get in the car
Jumping into a sweltering car has to be one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world, so its understandable that many of us reach for the air con as soon as we get in, but according to an expert this can be a mistake.
That’s because turning the air conditioning on straight away without opening the windows will just recirculate the hot air.
It’s much better to naturally lower the temperature first by opening the doors, lowering the windows for a minute or two before shutting the doors and cranking up the A/C.