Originally posted on August 9, 2016 - price and availability of particular products mentioned in this post may have changed.
The dog days of summer have arrived! While the long days and abundant sunshine are nice, no one looks forward to the hot, sleepless nights. Try out these cool(ing) tricks to beat the heat and get the sleep you need.
Get a Mattress That Helps Keep You Cool
Some mattresses can be total heat traps. Fortunately, there are a variety of mattresses that are designed to help keep you cool throughout the night. If you’re a fan of traditional innerspring mattresses, check out the Simmons Beautyrest Recharge mattresses with Aircool foams and airflow technology. If you prefer the feel of memory foam mattresses, take a look at the cooling gel-infused Healthcare Gelcare mattresses or the ventilated latex and cooling gel-infused Cloud Mattress. Need help finding the right mattress for you? Click here for mattress buying tips.
Swap Out Your PJs and Sheets
Some fabrics are more breathable than others, making them a much better choice for pajamas and sheets during summer. Look for pajamas made of wicking materials, like Coolmax, or of loose, breathable cotton. If you don’t want to spring for new pajamas take a look through your activewear, which often is made with wicking materials. Sheets made of natural materials like cotton, bamboo, or linen with thread counts between 200 and 400 are the best for summer. Higher thread counts or materials like silk, satin, and polyester are more likely to trap body heat.
Go for the Graze
While it may be tempting to devour a large, freshly-grilled steak for dinner, it’s far better to eat more small meals throughout the day instead of a few larger meals. Larger meals cause your body to produce more metabolic heat during digestion, as do foods that are high in protein.
Keep the Heat Out
One of the easiest ways to keep your bedroom cooler at night is to keep it from heating up during the day in the first place.Keeping your blinds or curtains closed during the day helps block the sun (and the heat it brings) from a room. If you want to take it even further, you can either buy or DIY some heat blocking curtains to keep even more heat from entering your home. Don’t forget to open the windows once the temperature outside drops to let the hot air out and cooler air in!
Get the Airflow Going
Instead of just blowing hot air around your bedroom, strategically place your fans to create a through-breeze that helps to actually cool things down by drawing in air from a cooler part of your home (or outside) and pushing the hot air somewhere else. Creating a through-breeze in a room with a window is easy: simply take two fans and place one in or near a window and the other on the opposite side of the room. During the day you should set them up so that that they’re pushing the hot air out of the room through the window, but if it cools off at night you should position them so they’re drawing cool air inside.
Make Your Own AC
If you don’t have an air conditioner or it’s just not cutting it in the cooling department, try making your own with a fan and a shallow pan or bowl of ice. Simply set a large, shallow pan of ice in front of a fan. The ice will cool the air that flows over it to give you a nice cool breeze. If you don’t have ice on hand, any other frozen or chilled item will work.
Sleep Like an Egyptian
Sleeping like an ancient Egyptian is easy: simply soak a sheet, blanket, or towel with cold water and then wring it out so that it’s damp, but not dripping. Then cover yourself with it while you sleep. The Egyptian method harnesses the power of evaporative cooling to cool you off—which might not work as well with high levels of humidity. To use this method when it’s humid, add a fan into the mix and aim it so that it blows at you to help encourage evaporation.
Shower Before Bed
Taking a shower or bath before you hit the hay has benefits beyond washing off the sweat of the day; it also provides a nice cooling effect as the water evaporates from your skin and hair. Not only can this help cool you down, it can also help you sleep better by dropping your core body temperature a little to signal your body to sleep.
Instead of just sticking a wet washcloth on your forehead, learn where to strategically place cold compresses for maximum cooling power. The key is to place a cool compress on a pulse point—where blood vessels are close to your skin—because it is much easier to cool your blood and body at these spots. Pulse points exist at your temples, the back of your neck, your wrists, the insides of your elbows and knees, your inner thighs, the tops of your feet, and insides of your ankles (near where your bone sticks out). With this in mind you might put a damp bandanna around your neck, soak your feet in cold water, or run cold water over your wrists. Just remember that if you choose to use ice in your cold compress you should never put it directly on your skin—the goal is to cool off, not give yourself frostbite!
Move to Lower Ground
Sometimes you just have to know when to retreat to a cooler part of your home. Heat rises, so if your bedroom is on an upper level of the house consider moving to a cooler room on a lower level or the basement.
These tricks should help you beat the heat and get the shuteye you need to tackle every adventure summer brings. Remember that your can combine tips to create the ultimate cool experience!