With Britain set to bask in temperatures hotter than the Algarve tomorrow, experts have shared a host of tips of how to keep cool in the sizzling heat on ‘fiery Friday’.
From avoiding caffeine and steering clear of alcohol to putting a bowl of ice in front of a fan, popular heatwave hacks even recommend putting your bedding in the freezer.
The mercury is set to soar to 34C (93F) in the South East tomorrow, higher than the 27C (80F) expected in Faro, Portugal.
Britain’s sky-high temperatures even prompted health chiefs to issue a warning, with officials advising people to look out for older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions.
But the blistering heat, which has been gaining momentum all week, will then dip to 20C (68F) on Saturday and Sunday, with thunderstorms expected.
Here, MailOnline reveals the best tips to stay cool in the heatwave — which will help you sleep through the night and avoid dehydration.
Experts have been sharing a host of tips of how to keep cool in the sizzling heat on ‘fiery Friday’, with Britain set to bask in temperatures hotter than the Algarve tomorrow
The scorching hot weather this week has seen roads melt and rail firms impose speed restrictions due to affected tracks, whilst a Leicestershire school has cancelled its sports day amid expected higher temperatures today and tomorrow. Above: Commuters bask in the early morning sunshine today as they make their way to work
This week has already seen glorious sunshine and clear skies across much of England and Wales, with tourists flocking to hotspots including Westminster Bridge and Richmond Park in the capital. Above: Commuters in London this morning
While many may opt for an ice bath during the soaring temperatures today and tomorrow, experts actually recommend the opposite for staying cool at night
Take a warm bath before bed
While many may opt for an ice bath during the soaring temperatures today and tomorrow, experts actually recommend the opposite for staying cool at night.
Core body temperatures follow a 24-hour cycle, with levels dropping by about 2C at night.
The drop in temperature allows the body to conserve energy and direct it to organs that need it.
The cycle can, however, be disrupted during periods of hot weather, potentially causing a miserable night’s sleep.
However, the science says hot baths can help you cool down rapidly.
This is because the warm water causes the blood vessels in the surface of the skin to dilate, causing the blood to rush to your extremities. Once out the bath, this causes the body to cool down rapidly.
Hayley Thistleton, sleep expert at SleepSeeker, told MailOnline: ‘It might seem like the opposite of what you should be doing to keep cool.
‘But it’s worth taking a warm bath about an hour or two before bedtime as this helps your body temperature to decrease after you leave the bath and your body adapts to the cooler environment.’
Sleep expert Dave Gibson recommends you eat spicy food at least three hours before bed during the heatwave
Eat spicy food
Forget taste, there’s may be another reason why the hottest countries in the world in South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean all love eating spicy food.
Despite also seeming counterproductive, extra hot dishes can actually cool you down.
Spicy food raises your internal body temperature, mirroring that of the weather.
This causes you to sweat and once your body heat has been used to evaporate the moisture you start to cool off.
Unlike downing a cold drink or having an ice cream — which cause your body to raise its temperature after it drops too rapidly — this causes a long-lasting cooling effect.
Dave Gibson, from the Sleep Site, recommends you eat spicy food at least three hours before bed during the heatwave.
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep expert at Silentnight, says putting bedding in the freezer for a couple of minutes at night will help you stay cool throughout your sleep
Put your bedding in the freezer
After a long day in the sun, everyone wants to return to a nice cold bed.
As with the hot bath trick before bed, relaxing into cool sheets helps allow the body’s temperature to drop by the required 2C needed for good sleep.
But rather than causing your body to radiate heat away, this directly cools you from the outside in, preventing your internal temperature jumping back up as it readjusts to the outside.
Dr Mike Farquhar, a consultant in sleep medicine at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said putting bedding in the freezer for a couple of minutes at night will help you stay cool throughout your sleep.
But make sure the bedding is put in plastic bags first to prevent dirty bedding contaminating food, or vice versa.
With most Britons not having an air conditioning unit in their home, many turn to placing ice in front of their electric fan
Try ice in front of the fan
With most Britons not having an air conditioning unit in their home, many turn to placing ice in front of their electric fan.
The popular DIY hack — backed by consumer advice company Which? — can help circulate chilled air across the room.
It works quite simply: the air around the ice drops to near freezing temperatures and the fan helps push this across the room.
Experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute said: ‘As the air passes over the ice it will be chilled and will circulate refreshingly cold air around the room.’
But make sure any ice is either in a bowel or kept in a bottle to avoid water getting into the fans electrics when it melts.
Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee can cause dehydration, which is one of the greatest risk factors faced during the heatwave
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee can cause dehydration, which is one of the greatest risk factors faced during the heatwave.
The same is the case with alcohol, with excessive beers and cocktails in the sun all putting Britons at risk of becoming dehydrated.
Caffeine and alcohol both suppress the hormone ADH, which usually causes the kidney’s to retain water when your body is low on stores.
This causes you to urinate more frequently than you should be, resulting in dehydration.
Dehydration can cause splitting headaches and even result in hopsitalisation if you reach the point of nausea and are unable to drink water as a result.
Dr Louise Smith, director public health for Norfolk County Council, told people to avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine where possible.
She said: ‘It’s vital to stay cool, drink plenty of water and avoid excessive alcohol or caffeine. These are simple things we all know we can do and if we make time to do them, we can safely and happily enjoy the summer weather.’
Despite being a mild diuretic — causing urination — some experts have questioned coffee and tea’s dehydrating effect, suggesting the loss of fluids caused is replaced by the drinks themselves.
TV doctor Dr Hilary Jones warned old people should make sure they wear loose-fitting clothes — and less of them — or risk feeling faint and falling
Wear loose fitting clothes
Linen shirts and summer dresses are ideal for beating the blazing sun.
Tight-fitting clothing can cause you to feel warm by creating an insulating layer of air between your body and the outside world.
TV doctor Dr Hilary Jones warned old people should make sure they wear loose-fitting clothes — and less of them — or risk feeling faint and falling.
The GP told Good Morning Britain: ‘It makes sense to drink plenty of water, stay in the shade and wear loose fitting clothes.
‘A lot of elderly people I know come in to the surgery — they’ve got too many clothes on, so they feel dizzy and they feel faint, and they’re at risk of falling.
‘Not something you’d associate with warm weather, but that’s how it happens.’
Unplug your chargers
Electric chargers are another unexpected source of unnecessary heat, with experts advising people unplug all devices before bed and move them to another room while sleeping.
Chargers can cause devices to overheat once they have reached full battery, causing another source of heat in rooms.
The more devices — from phones, to tablets and computers — plugged in, the more heat produced, they say.
The makers of Amplify, a non-alcoholic spirit, compiled its own list of tips, warning that ‘electronics create a lot more heat than you realise’.
Experts recommend unplugging devices as soon as they reach 100 per cent, preventing them from reaching temperatures that are too high.
Tips for coping in hot weather
- look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying health conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
- stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool
- close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- if going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately, keep your distance in line with social distancing guidelines
- drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
- never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
- walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
- avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
- make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling
- if you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice