Sleeping in Hot Weather
With the heat wave in the West and more to come this summer across the nation, it seems like a good idea to talk about sleeping in hot weather. Getting a good night sleep is always important and it becomes more difficult when you have to try and sleep in conditions you are not used to. Sleeping in hot weather can make it more difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep and get a restful night. If you are one of the people who have trouble sleeping anyway, the added heat can make it even more difficult to get the rest you need.
Air conditioning is one way to stay cool if you do a lot of sleeping in hot weather, but in the Northwest (Seattle, Portland, etc) most houses don’t have air conditioning, it’s just generally not needed. One solution would be to stay a few nights in a hotel that offers A/C, but let’s face it- for most of us that is not feasible, either do to cost, logistics or both. In lieu of A/C or a Hotel we will take a look at some other tricks and options to help make sleeping in hot weather a bit easier.
Use a Fan:
Most people think a fan will just circulate warm air that is already in the room, while this is true, you can increase the amount of cooler air circulated by opening a window and placing the fan at floor level. Colder air falls to the floor, and hotter air rises to the ceiling making it more effective to circulate cooler air. I also just like the feeling if the air as it blows over me when I use my fan that has an oscillating head.
When ice melts you get a vapor. An effective way to cool a room is melt some ice in a bowl of cold water. Vapor from the ice enters the air and get circulated by a fan placed nearby.
A wet washcloth, hand towel or cloth napkin can be soaked in cold water, then wrung out and placed on your forehead, face, shoulders, whatever makes you fell better. It is said they work well when placed on your feet. One variation of this I used in college when sleeping in hot weather was to put my pillow in the freezer for a few minutes then take it out and hope I fell asleep before it heated back up.
Keeping your feel Cool:
One way to reduce your overall body temperature when it’s really warm is to keep your feet cool. Heat rises in your body like it does in the air. A way to keep your body cooler is to keep your feet cool- wrap your feet in a cold compress and this will help your body stay cooler.
Cold/Lukewarm Baths and Showers:
Another method for sleeping in hot weather is to have a cold shower or bath and then lie atop your bed on a towel. Cold baths and showers help bring the overall body temperature down and can help keep it lowered for a fair amount of time.
Using and old spray bottle (or buying a new one at the store), you can fill it with cold water or ice water and use it to spray on your face and body as you lie in bed. The cool mist will help cool you down and make you more comfortable as you try to get to sleep or back to sleep.
Sleep in the Basement:
In my house, the basement (lower family room), or any room below grade is typically the coolest room in the house. If you have an extra bed, inflatable mattress or comfortable couch down there it may well be the most comfortable place in your home for sleeping in hot weather.
Open your Windows:
As the sun goes down, the air temperature outside your home may well be lower than the air temperature inside your home. Open some of your windows to create a breeze that flows through the house bringing in the cooler air and pulling the warmer air out.
Luckily we in the Northwest don’t have to worry so much about sleeping in hot weather. We don’t experience too many of these really hot and uncomfortable days, so these short term solutions work and we are soon usually back to our more common moderate temperatures and don’t need to worry about sleeping in hot weather. If you are in an area that has a warmer environment, and don’t want to or just can’t afford to get air conditioning, I hope these tips and tricks allow you some relief and better sleep.