Cold showers before bed and pillows in the freezer – heatwave myths debunked

The UK has hit the peak of its first ever Red Extreme heat warning, issued by the Met Office.

This summer Brits are moaning about the weather, but for a very different reason to normal.

With temperatures set to reach over 40 degrees in areas across the country, many people are resorting to desperate measures in order to keep cool.

But how do people actually try and stay chilled during a heatwave?

Whether it's cold showers before bed, sleeping commando or sticking a frozen bottle in front of a fan, we take a look at the myths being debunked and the tips that are hot – and not.

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How to keep cool in hot weather

Here are some debunked Mythologi-cool facts about dealing with the heat:

  • Taking a cold shower before bed – although it can give you an immediate relief, Dr Amir Khan told the Lorraine show that a longer warm shower can actually help keep you cool in the long-term.
  • Wet clothes and bed sheets – Dr Khan also confirmed that sleeping on wet bed sheets or wet clothes can end up raising your body temperature. However, according to experts asked by the Telegraph, putting your pillow in the freezer for about 40 minutes can cool your skin.
  • Open windows? Sounds like a good idea, but when the air outside is warmer, it will only lead to increasing the temperature of your home. Make sure to keep windows shut and curtains drawn until the sun goes down.
  • Drinking a cold beer – avoid drinking alcohol, but if you are, the choice should be beer due to its water content and only one or two should be consumed.

How to stay cool

According to the BBC, scientists have listed some simple steps to try and chill out:

  • Keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm.
  • Eating foods with high water content such as: strawberries, cucumber and watermelon can help cool you down.
  • Loose-fitting clothes can help keep air circulating around your skin.
  • Drinking hot drinks does in fact cool you down. A sweating response to hot drinks and hot food can help reduce your body temperature.
  • There has been a recent trend of sticking wet bed sheets and ice buckets/bottles in front of the fan, and indeed it does work. Scientists pinpoint the wet bed sheet technique to ancient civilisations, where they used it in front of draughty areas to keep residents cool. And yes, it still works.
  • The obvious – stay hydrated. Keep drinking plenty of liquids.

If you or someone else have signs of heatstroke, including:

  • feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water
  • not sweating even while feeling too hot
  • a high temperature of 40C or above
  • feeling confused

You're advised to call 111 and seek medical help.

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