Have you ever spent a summer night in a home without air conditioning? Maybe it was a trip to visit an elderly relative, or a night at summer camp? If you have, you know exactly how miserable it can be. The sweating leaves you clinging to your sheets, and it’s impossible to get comfortable…or is it?
While there’s no substitute for good, old-fashioned air conditioning, there are other ways to cool down a room. In fact, we’ve got a great collection of tips for doing just that! If you’re AC is ever on the fritz, or you just want to lower your summer cooling bills, give these a try.
Give Your Sheets a Chill
You know that trick where you throw your covers in the dryer to warm them up in the winter? You can do the same thing with your sumer sheets. Just throw them in a grocery bag and toss them in the freezer for a couple of hours. The effect doesn’t last very long, but the cooling can definitely help you to fall asleep.
Get The Hot Air Out
Unfortunately, those old box fans really aren’t that efficient at beating the heat on their own. Instead of relying on them to cool you down, point them out the windows. This will force the warmer air out, and improve air flow and quality.
Loosen Things Up
This is not the time to sleep in a full night set. Instead, try out a baggy pair of shorts and an oversize t-shirt. The last thing you want is warm, tight pajamas that bind and twist. Of course, the other option is to sleep in the buff. Some are all for this idea, but others think it tends to leave you sweaty with nothing to wick away the moisture.
Use Fans to Create a Cross Breeze
If you do use fans, remember there is strength in numbers. Position them across the room from one another. This will give you the benefit of having a breeze coming from more than one direction.
Take it Outside
When air conditioning was rare, people would head outdoors on the hottest of nights. These impromptu camping trips helped in two ways. First of all, in the hottest of nights, outdoors is often cooler than indoors. Sleeping outside can also provide a fun diversion to help you forget about the weather. Don’t forget a bit of mosquito netting or bug spray. Then, grab plenty of water bottles and ice to chill out.
Make a Cold Compress
Wet down a few dish towels and ring them out. Freeze these in baggies. Then, take them out one at a time. Place these cold towels on your chest, stomach, or the back of your neck. You’ll cool down quite nicely. Pair this with a nice cross breeze for an even better effect.
Stick With Cotton
Cotton sheets in a light color are your best bet for hot nights. They breathe well, and are best for sweaty sleepers. Go for a lightweight sheet, but higher quality if you can afford it.
Create a DIY Personal Air Conditioner
You can create a very rudimentary, personal air conditioner with a block of ice from the local convenience mart, a pan to catch any water, and a small fan. Just position the fan behind the ice so that the breeze is cooled before it hits your skin.
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Are you a bit more of a DIY guru? There are advanced versions as well. With a bit of tubing, a styrofoam cooler and other accessories, you can rig up an AC for less than 50 bucks. It won’t cool your house, but it will certainly cool a small room. You might be able to build this swamp cooler with parts you find around your house.
Go it Alone
Let’s be honest. People are body heat generating machines. That’s no good in these situations. Spread out. You’re better spending the night on the couch, even on the floor than you are sharing a bed with someone else. If you must share, give each other as much room as you possibly can.
Try a Cooling Pillow
There are now pillows that are specially made to help you stay cool at night. Now is a good time to give one of these a try. It’s a bit like flipping your pillow over to experience the cool side, only this lasts all night.
Jump in The Shower First
Hit the showers right before you go to bed. Keep the water temperature cool, but not frigid. That cool down will help you fall asleep faster when it’s time to go to bed. The faster you can go to sleep and hit those restful REM stages, the better you’ll feel in the morning in spite of the temperatures.
Use Your Curtains
Sunlight through your windows can cause heat to build up during the day. This is especially true if you have tile or stone floors that can trap and hold heat. Keep curtains closed so that sunlight stays out during the day.
Fans, swamp coolers, window units, and other cooling methods help, but they only go so far. They work best in small rooms. Forget about whole house living. Instead, spend as much time in one or two rooms. Then, focusing just on cooling those spaces.
Chill Yourself Out
If you can’t cool the room down, cool yourself down. Drink plenty of cold fluids. Use ice. Get a personal fan. You’ll make things much more bearable for yourself.
Open up After Dark
Once the sun goes down, wait for the temperature to fall just a bit. Now is a good time open up some windows, and using the strategies listed above to create a breeze. Just be ready to close things back up when the sun is out again.
Watch What You Eat
Now is not the time to turn on the stove or oven to cook hot, stick to your ribs meals. Think in terms of sandwiches, salads, cheese and crackers, yogurts, and other light and simple meals. If you do want something more substantial, consider carryout or delivery.
Good, old air conditioning can feel like your best friend during the worst days of summer. Unfortunately, a trip or unexpected repair can leave any of us going without this luxury. Use the tips here to stay as cool as possible in the event of an AC emergency.