Is the heat driving you crazy? It is certainly difficult to be able to sleep, relax or do any activity when you are in a sweat bath, especially if there is no air conditioning. Don’t despair! There are some things you can do to cool off while you’re out and about in the scorching sun or in an enclosed space with no air conditioners. Although it is worthwhile to buy at least a few fans, most of the techniques described in the article do not require any expense.
Place a wet handkerchief on your neck.
Wet a handkerchief, bandana, or cloth with cool water. Wrap it around the nape of your neck for instant relief from the heat. When the cloth dries, just wet it again and repeat the process when needed!
Be aware that the fabric may drip onto your back and wet your clothes.
Run cool water onto your wrists.
Open the cold water tap and hold your wrists under the jet of water for a minute. Cooling the arterial pulse points is a great way to lower your body temperature when the heat becomes unbearable. Of course, you can’t keep your wrists under cold water all day, but you can go back to the tap whenever you need some cooling!
When you are outdoors and do not have access to a tap, try to wet your wrists with the water you have with you or, if you have the possibility, dip your arms in a stream.
Get your hair wet.
Put your head under the jet of cold water and wet your hair. Do this whenever you feel the need; it will help you lower your body temperature and get through a hot summer day without air conditioning!
If you are outdoors and there is a stream or clean water mirror nearby, dip your head to get your hair wet.
Sprinkle yourself with cold water.
Fill a spray bottle with cool water and spray it on your skin. It’s a great way to get quick heat relief when you don’t have a pool nearby! To intensify the effect, stand in front of a fan.
You can also try a water fan: in addition to moving the air with the blades, it nebulizes the water contained in the tank, giving a wonderful sensation of freshness on the skin. It’s portable and runs on batteries, so you can use it wherever you go!
Make a DIY air conditioner with a fan and ice.
Place a metal bowl filled with ice in front of a fan. Direct the appliance so that the air hits the ice bowl before spreading around the room. It’s a really easy way to create a cool breeze and cool the environment; just change the ice every time it melts.
You can also use a glass bowl instead of a metal one; with plastic ones, however, you would not get the same result.
If you prefer a less “messy” alternative, you can fill a large plastic bottle three quarters full with water and freeze it. Place the frozen bottle in front of the fan in place of the ice bowl; put it back in the freezer when the water dissolves. Keep in mind that the bottle will likely be less effective than the metal or glass bowl.
Take a cold bath or shower.
Cold water lowers the body temperature. If you went swimming on a hot summer day, you will surely know how refreshing a nice dip in the pool can be. To replicate the magic at home, just take a shower or bath with fresh water! If you have trouble falling asleep because of the heat, do it right before bed.
Can’t you take a shower or a bath? No problem! Dip some clean cloths in cold water, then place them on your face, arms and neck: they will refresh you quickly.
Keep curtains and windows closed during the day.
Block the sun’s rays so that less heat enters the house. As soon as the outside temperature begins to rise, close the windows and lower the blinds. If you have curtains, close those too. The environment will get a little dark, but it should stay cool!
To protect yourself even more, buy an anti-solar window film and stick it on the windows. The film will reject a greater amount of sunlight, shielding the internal environment from heat.
Keep the windows open at night.
Let in fresh air so the house doesn’t get stuffy. Take advantage of the cool night by opening the windows as soon as the temperature starts to drop; open them as much as possible to promote good air circulation.
If you don’t want to sleep with the windows open, close them just before bed and reopen them early in the morning, before the temperature starts to rise.
Make the bed with crisp, light sheets.
Use silk, satin, or cotton sheets and pillow cases. It’s hard to sleep in hot weather! If you’re still using polyester or flannel sheets, it’s time to replace them with cooler, more breathable fabrics. Also take off all the blankets and sleep with only one sheet to stay even cooler.
There are those who recommend soaking the sheets in cold water before going to bed; however, this is not a good idea, as body heat would heat them up quickly and, combined with moisture, could cause them to become moldy.
Put the mattress on the floor.
You feel cooler when you sleep on the floor. Since the hot air goes upwards, a good idea is to move the mattress to the floor, where it is slightly cooler. If you have a basement, you can also sleep there, in a sleeping bag, on nights when it’s particularly hot.
If you have a way to hang a hammock indoors, give it a try! You will feel the air circulation better, so you may fall asleep more easily.
Turn on the floor or ceiling fans.
Let fresh air into the room while letting the warm air out. If you have ceiling fans, rotate them counterclockwise so that they lift cold air off the floor. Do you want to use a floor or table fan? Open a window and place it on the windowsill, facing outwards: this way, it will push the hot air out of the room instead of just circulating it.
If you have a fireplace, keep the chimney open at night so that the heat can rise and fall out as it is replaced by the cool night air.
If you have an attic with ventilation, open the windows and turn on the ventilation system so that it draws the warm air upwards and outwards.
Wear loose, light clothing.
Light-colored clothes made of natural fiber promote evaporation of sweat and keep you cooler. Replace synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, with lightweight clothing made of cotton, linen or silk – natural fibers are breathable, so they don’t trap heat against your body.
If you have to go out, wear a hat with a wide brim and don’t forget your sunscreen!
Do not wear dark colored clothes: they absorb sunlight, becoming much warmer than white or light colored ones.
Avoid socks and closed shoes: they trap heat; instead put on a pair of sandals or, if possible, stay barefoot!
Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Keep a bottle of water or an electrolyte drink handy and sip it from time to time to replenish lost fluids. In very hot weather, your body has to work harder to cool down – you will likely notice increased sweating. Prevent dehydration by sipping water throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty. You can also use cold drinks for a greater feeling of freshness.
If you are doing work that requires physical strength or exercising in hot weather, take electrolyte drinks to replenish sodium, chloride, potassium, and other minerals that are lost when you sweat.
While the idea of a nice cold cocktail may appeal to you, avoid alcohol as much as possible, because it can actually make you lose even more fluids. Instead, sip iced tea, flavored water or try a “mocktail “, which is a non-alcoholic cocktail.
Stock up on cold snacks.
Eat popsicles, frozen fruit, smoothies, or ice cream. Getting something cold from the fridge or freezer is a great way to get some refreshment while enjoying a tasty snack! Try to choose a light, refreshing, liquid-containing food to keep yourself hydrated – for example, a fruit sorbet or a cold watermelon.
Do you want to try an original snack? Rinse some fresh grapes and put them in the freezer; then, put a frozen grape in your mouth whenever you need a quick and fresh snack. You can do this with berries too, but be aware that they may stain your fingers.
If you plan on making popsicles yourself, freeze your fruit juice or smoothie of your choice in small paper cups, with popsicle sticks tucked inside.