We’ve all been there—tossing and turning in bed, struggling because our sweat has us practically glued to the sheets. Looking around for a cool spot to get fresh air and even using books or papers to circulate air for ourselves. It! Is! Awful!
There are few things worse than trying to catch some shut-eye (or even just relax!) in an incredibly hot, sticky room. But brutal summer temps are unavoidable for most of us at some point in the year. So how to cool down a room without AC? It’s possible, we swear! A few quick tips and trips, a bunch of which you’ve probably never heard, can mean the difference between a sleepless night in a borderline sauna and some blissful zzzs. So what are we going to cover? (Well, not ourselves, obviously.) Things like how to use the freezer to your advantage (it’s not what you think), getting low (to the ground, that is), and getting extra creative with grains.
Here are all those tried-and-true DIY strategies for how to stay cool in summer.
1. SILK? NAH! I’LL CHOOSE COTTON INSTEAD: Save the ooh-la-la satin, silk, or polyester sheets for cooler nights. Light-colored bed linens made of lightweight cotton (Egyptian or otherwise) xare breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow in the bedroom.
2. SLEEP LIKE AN EGYPTIAN— WET YOUR SHEETS: 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. I recommend laying the damp sheets on top of a dry towel to avoid soaking the mattress.
3. TURN OFF THE LIGHTS: This tip is pretty self-explanatory. Light bulbs (even environmentally-friendly CFLs) give off heat. Fortunately, summer means it stays light until eight or nine at night. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible, and keep rooms cool after dark by using lights minimally or not at all (romantic candle-lit dinner, anyone?)
4. DRINK WATER. REPLENISH ELECTROLYTES: Drink water! The human body does a pretty decent job of keeping you cool, but you have to provide it the fuel it needs to do so. That means drinking so much water you think it might be too much. Also, replenish your body’s electrolytes with salt if you can and avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine, and carbonation. These types of liquids can lead to dehydration or slow the hydration process. Obviously, you don’t want to waste water if you know you have a limited supply and a long way to travel, but you should pack enough to drink a lot during your time outdoors. Bring more than you think you need.
5. DONT OVEREXERT YOURESELF: Here’s the deal; the more you move the hotter you’ll get; the less you move the more you’ll cool down. Around 80 percent of the energy you burn when you exercise is transformed into heat, and you don’t need any more of that when it’s already roasting outside. Take breaks (in the shade) and don’t push yourself too hard. Exertional heatstroke, or what’s known as sunstroke, is one of the top three killers of athletes and soldiers in training.
Finally, take frequent rests in the shade to allow your body the opportunity to stay cool. If the shade is difficult to find, get creative by making your own shade with clothing strung over your trekking poles or by sheltering in a hole in the ground if you find yourself in a desperate situation. Remember that water is your most important resource, so protect the water that’s already in your body by avoiding the sun and the wind, as both can increase water evaporation from your body. Do not eat unless you have plenty of water, and limit or cease physical activity if your water resources are critical.