By Janet Miller
When the weather is cool, it’s natural to long for the nice sunshine and summer nights out by the camp fire, but when summer finally arrives, you get a rude awakening, quite literally. Those hot and humid nights can be brutal if you don’t have an air conditioner. It can be so difficult to sleep sometimes that you wonder how your ancestors ever made it through a season without AC.
Well, they figured out the best tricks for staying cool!
There are a lot of things you can do differently to maximize your level of cool while you try to get some sleep on those brutal summer nights. From your sheets and mattress, to the way you position your fans, here are 12 tricks to help you survive hot summer nights without air conditioning.
Be Smart with Your Fans
There’s some truth to the fact that a fan alone will just circulate hot air, but there are some clever tricks you can try to maximize their effectiveness. Use a box fan in your window, positioned to blow the air out instead of in. Adjust your ceiling fan to spin counterclockwise, which helps pull the hot air up while the box fans blow it out.
Some other effective fan tricks include placing a shallow bowl or pan, like a roasting pan, in front of a table fan and filling it with ice. You can also create a cross breeze by placing a table fan or standing fan directly across the room from an open window. When the breeze blows in from outside, the breeze from the fan will be mirroring it, doubling the breeze.
Wear the Right Pajamas
Put away everything but the cotton. Cotton is light, airy, breathable, and soaks up moisture. Sleep in a pair of cotton shorts and a cotton tank top and you’ll never go back to those polyesters and silks again.
People have differing opinions about sleeping nude. Some say it doesn’t help because cotton soaks up sweat, so when you sleep nude you’re not wearing any sweat-soaking clothes. It pretty much boils down to personal preference, especially if you’re sleeping on cotton sheets.
Try a Different Mattress
It may feel a little ancient to make the switch, but straw and bamboo retain less heat than modern mattresses. Cots and hammocks are good options as well because the airflow around them is increased by the fact that they’re suspended on all sides.
Use the Right Sheets
Leave the flannel and satin for the cooler seasons. Use cotton bed sheets during the summers. When it’s hot and humid outside, the lighter your sheets are, the better, and Egyptian cotton is by far the lightest. (It’s also available organically!)
You can also try keeping your sheets in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for about a half hour before bed to get some temporary chilly relief as you doze off.
Change the Pillows
Buckwheat pillows are awesome for hot summer nights. The buckwheat doesn’t hold onto heat like the other more common types of pillow material, and the hulls have naturally occurring air spaces to allow a better air flow through the entire pillow.
You can also try filling a sock with rice, tying it and keeping it in the freezer for at least an hour before you go to bed. When it’s time to sleep, take it out and use it to cool your wrists and neck as you drift off. The rice kernels stay cooler longer than frozen water or vegetables, giving you a good 30 minutes of relief as you’re falling asleep.
Hot air rises, therefore, the best logical place to sleep during the hottest summer nights is as low to the ground as possible. You should keep your bed as low as you can, and if you can help it, sleep on the ground floor or in the basement.
Treat Windows Properly
Keep blinds closed over the windows during the day to block the sunlight and heat from seeping inside. At night, try hanging a wet sheet in front of your window to provide a cool and moist breeze.
Turn off the Lights and Electronics
When the sun sets, turn off as many lights and electronics as you can. They all generate heat and will heat the air around you without you even noticing. To keep the air around you as cool as possible, be mindful of the lights you leave on and the electronics you keep plugged in.
On your rooftop, in the backyard, anywhere you have access to camp around your property, you should take advantage of it once in a while. At night it’s often much cooler outdoors because you get the full effect of the breeze and open sky.
Want more on camping?
We also recommend the LifeStraw personal water filter, which is perfect for camping situations! (You’ll also get free shipping and 20% off with that link.)
Sleep Alone (and Hog the Bed!)
Cuddling generates heat, and this means cuddling with yourself as well as a partner. Give yourself space and hog that bed. The more you spread yourself out, the cooler you’ll feel.
Avoid Cooking at Night
Summer is the wrong time for hearty, home-cooked dinners. Come up with quick and cool meal ideas for summer and keep the stove and oven off at night.
One way to do this is with services like Door-to-Door Organics. They deliver fresh, organic produce right to your door.
Use Your Water
Take a cold shower before bed. It won’t only cool your body temperature down and feel great, but rinsing the layer of sweat off your body before you sleep will help you feel refreshed and cool.
Drink a glass of water before bed and avoid alcohol as it raises the body temperature, disrupts sleep cycles, and dehydrates you. You need to stay hydrated and get the best quality sleep you can, so a glass of water before bed does the trick.
What are you waiting for?
Get to work and put some of these great tricks into action. You’ll be sleeping soundly in no time, or at least the hottest nights should be a little bit more bearable when you put these tips and tricks to the test!