The UK Is Experiencing Weather Whiplash, This Is How To Cope

<span class="copyright">Westend61 via Getty Images/Westend61</span>
Westend61 via Getty Images/Westend61

Listen, I’m not a summer person but I feel like the joy of having four seasons boils down to not having to put my heating on for 4-5 months a year. So why, I beg, did I have to put the heating on last week, in JULY?!

I know that I’m not alone in feeling like I can’t keep up with the UK weather this summer and that it’s by all accounts a total washout. These dramatic shifts in weather, which can occur just throughout a single day, are frustrating to say the least.

However, according to one expert, this isn’t just a frustrating experience, it’s actually a phenomenon called ‘weather whiplash’.

Edward Gorst, Sleep Expert for Panda London said: “Weather whiplash refers to extreme and sudden shifts in weather patterns, often characterised by rapid changes from one weather extreme to another within a short period.

“This phenomenon can occur due to various climatic factors such as climate change, atmospheric instability, or natural weather variability.”

So, if you think about the dramatic changes that have happened within just your own region, there’s likely been dramatic shifts such as cold temperatures in summer and unseasonably warm temperatures in winter.

Gorst warned: “These abrupt changes can be disruptive to individuals and their body’s natural rhythms and can have implications for sleep patterns and overall health.”

How does weather whiplash impact sleep?

Gorst explained that even something as simple as increases in temperature can make it very difficult to adjust to sleep, and a lot of us find ourselves feeling uncomfortable.

He added: “This discomfort can lead to frequent awakenings throughout the night and overall poorer sleep quality.

“For example, sleeping during a heatwave or period of extreme humidity is likely to mean that people are overly ‘hot and bothered’ at night and consequently experience more disturbed sleep.”

He also highlighted that weather events such as storms or strong winds can bring with them noise that either keeps us awake or wakes us through the night. Not ideal.

How can we deal with weather whiplash?

Gorst recommends following these 5 steps to mitigate the impacts of weather whiplash:

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule

Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.

Create a comfortable sleep environment

Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. For example, when it gets too hot try ditching the duvet and just using a thin sheet/

Practice relaxation techniques

Engage in relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation before bedtime when a change in weather and temperature is affecting you. These techniques can help calm you and prepare your body for sleep, despite external weather fluctuations.

Monitor Bedroom Temperature

Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Use fans or air conditioning during hot weather and consider using extra blankets or a space heater during cold spells to maintain a consistent and comfortable sleep environment.

Be accepting of the weather

No one can control the weather and so when a heatwave or a cold spell hits, all that we have some control over is how we deal with it. It’s better to recognise that sleep may be somewhat disrupted by a sudden change in weather, but that’s okay, and it will return to normal soon.