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WEATHER

Heatwave latest: No relief as Switzerland continues to swelter

Switzerland’s heatwave is set to continue on Thursday after a hot Wednesday during which a number of record maximum highs were recorded.

Heatwave latest: No relief as Switzerland continues to swelter
Cooling down in Geneva. File photo: AFP

Both Basel and Bern could see highs of 37C today, while the forecast maximum for Geneva and Zurich is 36C.

A level 4 alert (severe danger) for hot weather remains in place for the Basel region, for central Valais and for the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino.

Read also: Working in a heatwave – the Swiss laws employees should know about

“Today will be just as hot as yesterday,” said a spokesperson for private weather service MeteoNews of the conditions on Thursday.

A live weather map showing current temperatures in Geneva. Image: Swisstopo

Meanwhile, the highest temperature reached in Switzerland yesterday was 36.6C at the Oberwil Weierbrüggli weather station in the canton of Basel-Landschaft.

Basel itself saw a maximum of 35.9C while Sion in canton Valais came in just behind with 35.8C.

Hottest temperature ever recorded in Scuol

And Scuol in Graubünden saw its hottest day ever – 33.3C. The Säntis mountain in eastern Switzerland’s Alpstein massif also saw a new all-time high temperature of 21C, as did Grächen in canton Valais (30.8C).

With a maximum of 29.8C, the mountain resort of Davos also had its warmest day since records began.

In addition, 43 weather stations saw new June records yesterday, among them the Zurich Affoltern station where 35.5C was recorded. The Bern Zollikofen station also saw a new June record with 34.3C registered, according to MeteoSwiss.

Temperatures in many parts of Switzerland also remained high on Wednesday night. In Vevey, in canton Vaud, the thermometer did not dip below 25.3C.

‘Hot weather budget for school kids’

Despite the high temperatures in Switzerland, schools remain open, although school authorities are finding innovative ways to deal with the heat. In Adliswil in canton Zurich, teachers have been given a budget of 10 Swiss francs per student to use towards activities like going to the pool or for ice creams for children.

On Wednesday, a school in Kappel am Albis, also in canton Zurich, announced children would not have to attend classes Thursday citing the long bike ride that many students would have to make in the heat.

But cantonal school authorities objected, saying the school had a duty of care to its students. The Kappel am Albis school then backtracked and said classes would go ahead with a bus service provided for students who would usually ride.

Read also: Why Swiss kids still have to go to school during heatwaves

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WEATHER

‘Don’t sleep naked’: How to get a good night’s sleep in a Swiss heatwave

As temperatures climb again, many people may struggle to get a good night's sleep in Switzerland. Here are some expert tips to help you even when it's sweltering hot.

‘Don’t sleep naked’: How to get a good night’s sleep in a Swiss heatwave

Switzerland’s summers tend to get hotter and this season has seen its share of heatwaves, bringing temperatures closer to 40C and making it almost impossible to sleep.

This could mean trouble for residents of a country better prepared to bear the cold weather than the extreme heat.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has three ‘golden rules’ for how to make it through heatwaves; avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day, keep the heat out of your house however you can, drink and eat smart (fresh foods and lots of water).

With night temperatures in some regions above 20C, Swiss residents will also need some help getting through the night.

Here are a few tips to keep cool overnight and enjoy better sleep despite the heat of the night.

Don’t sleep naked

It’s tempting to ditch the PJs when it’s this warm overnight. But sleep experts say this is a mistake, as any moisture from sweat accumulates on your body.

Cotton pyjamas and cotton sheets are very effective in absorbing and removing sweat from your body.

Give a little help to your internal clock

Many people think that it is only the extreme heat in summer making your sleep seem a bit worse than in the colder months. But the fact that days are brighter for longer makes a huge difference.

READ ALSO: How Switzerland’s largest cities are combating the heat

As light suppresses our body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that signals that it is time to sleep, the longer days irritate our internal clock, according to sleep experts.

The old tip of turning off your devices to avoid the blue light is also extra crucial. So around one hour before going to bed, you can start your “darkening” ritual throughout your home.

In that sense, it’s also better to avoid naps during the day to keep a better sleep routine.

Try to cool your room and yourself

Of course, the cooler temperatures are in your bedroom when you go to sleep, the better. You can help get temperatures a few degrees down by following these tips: keep the blinds and windows shut during the worst of the day and ventilate the cooler night breeze during the night.

Sleeping during a heatwave can be difficult. Photo: Yuris Alhumaydy / Unsplash

You can also moisten your curtains just before bedtime and leave the window open; the water evaporation will make it a bit cooler. If you can, another tip is to put your mattress on the floor as hot air rises – excellent advice for those sleeping on a bunk bed.

Don’t forget to turn off (and unplug!) electrical appliances, as those are heat sources.

READ ALSO: Eight great swimming spots to escape the Swiss summer heat

To cool yourself, you could take a lukewarm evening shower (not a hot one, those will make your body react by generating heat).

Fans and humidity help

As long as you’ve kept your room relatively cool, fans work. They help evaporate sweat which, in turn, helps your body regulate its temperature.

Putting a bowl of ice in front of the fan can also help cool the room.

Some people swear by dampening their sheets before going to bed. But if you’re not used to it, the feeling can be a little disconcerting. You can also place multiple ice containers in the corners of your room, which will melt slowly overnight and cool the air.

Why is it essential to have a good night’s sleep?

Several days of scorching temperatures can cause heat stress, according to the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

If the nights are not cool enough, the body can’t recover from the heat of the day, creating a dangerous condition called “thermal stress”, which can be fatal for the elderly and other vulnerable people.

While there are no statistics showing how many people have fallen victim to heat stress during the most recent heatwave, several cantons have implemented a system of home visits and frequent phone contact with this at-risk group.

READ MORE: How to keep your cool during Switzerland’s heatwave

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