We don't have air conditioning, and with this hot weather its easy to get out of the house to cool off in the daytime, but at night it's really uncomfortable. How can I stay cool when I'm trying to sleep when the temperature is in the 90s even at night?
It is hot out there, isn't it? Where some of us are, the temps are well into the hundreds during the day, and lows at night are in the 90s. Thankfully, you're not the first person to have this problem and there are great ways to keep cool when you're trying to get a good night's sleep. Here's how.
DIY Air Conditioner
We've talked about a number of different DIY air conditioners that you can make, but they all rely on one principle: using ice from the freezer and a fan to spray cool mist through the air while you're sleeping to keep you cool. You can do this a number of ways, but the tried and true method is a simple desk or standing fan with a shallow bowl full of ice in front of it. As the fan blows and the ice melts, you'll get a fine mist of cool water in the air that will help keep you cool.
Another way to get a similar effect is to spray a sheet with cold water and put it in front of an open window. If there's a breeze, let nature do the work and blow a cool mist through your room or home. Just don't wet the sheets too much.
Create a Through-Breeze
If you have a breeze or at least a window, instead of just blowing the hot air around your home, set up a through-breeze by putting a pair of box fans at opposite sides of the room, preferably with one in the window, to either draw cooler air in and push hot air out of your room, or push the hot air out of your house entirely. Either way, the through-breeze in your room will make it easier to sleep.
Get a Cooling Pillow
Lifehacker's own Jason Chen swears by his Chillow, a cooling pillow that can help cool your brain and make it easier to fall asleep, even in otherwise hot environments. The Chillow isn't the only kind of cooling pillow on the market: there are others you can find online or in department stores, but all of them work by cooling your brain – it's the same reason we all flip over to the cool side of the pillow during the night when it gets warm.
Put Your Sheets in the Fridge
This old trick won't relieve the heat all through the night, but it may help you fall asleep faster. Put your sheets into a plastic sealed bag and pop them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. Make sure the bag is sealed tight so you don't get any moisture in the sheets. If you leave them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes, they'll cool down, and when it's time for bed, put the now-chilled sheets on the bed and enjoy the quality cold. Granted, your body heat will warm them after even a few minutes, so it's momentary relief at best, but it's still relief.
Use the "Egyptian Method"
This old technique calls back to legends of how ancient Egyptians used to stay cool on hot nights. Simply soak a sheet or blanket large enough to cover you in cold water, then wring it dry so it's damp and cool, but not dripping wet. Then just use it as a blanket. As the water evaporates, you get the benefit of staying cool but not wet.
There are a few more common variations on this theme, like the cold washcloth or ice pack on your head or wrists while you sleep, or going to bed with cool, damp (but again, not wet) socks on to keep your feet cool and you comfortable enough to fall asleep.
These are just a few ways you can try to stay comfortable enough to sleep if you don't have a lot of control over where you sleep or the building you're sleeping in. If you have a vented attic or skylight, open that up to let the hot air that's risen to the top of the room out. If you have a downstairs or basement you can sleep in, it might be cooler down there and worth moving for a night or two.
Hopefully these suggestions help you stay cool while you ride out the heat wave. It's important to get a good night's sleep, so make sure to prepare for it ahead of time so you don't spend hours prepping your new, cooler bed that you could have spent sleeping in it. Stay cool!