When summer comes to mind, we almost always focus on picnics, days lounging on the beach, and tasty iced drinks. But hot weather has a gnarly side, too. We’re talking about the real dog days of summer, when intense heat and humidity make it impossible to sit comfortably, let alone sleep through the night.
The obvious solution for cool, calm, and REM-ful sleeping is an air conditioner: These modern gizmos can keep a bedroom at the optimum sleep temperature(roughly between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit), plus provide some nice white noise to boot. But even small window units use up tons of energy and jack up monthly electric bills. So what’s an environmentally-responsible, budget-conscious sleeper to do?
Living through a hot summer without A/C seems impossible but, hey, our grandparents did it all the time! Turns out, they learned a few things in the process. Read on for some tried and true DIY strategies for staying cool on hot nights.
1. Choose cotton. Save the ooh-la-la satin, silk, or polyester sheets for cooler nights. Light-colored bed linens made of lightweight cotton (Egyptian or otherwise) are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow in the bedroom.
2. Feel the freezer burn. Stick sheets in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before bed. We recommend placing them in a plastic bag first (unless eu de frozen pizza is your fave aromatherapy scent). Granted, this won’t keep you cool all night, but it will provide a brief respite from heat and humidity.
3. Get cold comfort. Here’s a four-seasons tip for keeping utilities charges down: Buy a hot water bottle. In winter, fill it with boiling water for toasty toes without cranking the thermostat. During summer, stick it in the freezer to create a bed-friendly ice pack.
4. Be creative. If you thought fans are just for blowing hot air around, think again! Point box fans out the windows so they push hot air out, and adjust ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just twirling it around the room.
5. Sleep like an Egyptian. If there seem to be a lot of Egyptian references in this list, it’s because those Nile-dwellers knew how to do it right. The so-called “Egyptian method” involves dampening a sheet or towel in cool water and using it as a blanket. We recommend laying the damp sheets on top of a dry towel to avoid soaking the mattress.
For all 24 tricks to beat the heat and sleep, go to Greatist.com.