If you don’t have a fan or air conditioning or you just can’t put up with the constant whirring then how else can you keep cool at night?
The last few summers here in the UK have bought several heatwaves. Most of us Brits don’t have air conditioning installed in our houses, so we have to find other ways to keep ourselves cool.
With the planet warming up and more freak weather patterns occurring we have all had to put up with weather that we aren’t used to.
I have never been able to sleep comfortably with a fan going. They are noisy and I don’t like having a breeze going across my body. I want to be cool but at the same time I don’t like drafts and I don’t like noise!
Each time we get a heatwave I look for more ways to keep myself and the bedroom cool. So in my post today I’ve documented everything I do plus some new tips that I found recently.
To keep yourself cool at night without using a fan, make sure you close the curtains and windows during the day so that the room does not heat up. Switch your summer duvet for a single cotton sheet. Take a cold shower before bed and then pull open the windows, curtains and doors after the lights go out.
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How to keep yourself cool at night without a fan or air conditioning
Here are all my tips to keep yourself super-cool in bed at night even when it’s been a sizzling day:
If your bedroom is on the upper floor, my biggest tip is to simply sleep elsewhere.
Heat rises and so naturally the upstairs will be warmer than downstairs. If you expect the heatwave to go on for a while consider moving your bed downstairs. Or kip on the sofa when you just can’t stand the heat in your bedroom.
Swap out your duvet for a cotton sheet
Duvets come in many different thicknesses or ‘togs’. But even the summer one could be too much. Switch to a single cotton sheet or take your duvet out of the cover. Cotton is the best material for bedding because it allows the skin to breathe.
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Sleep on your own
Having another person in the bed with you means double body heat. If you can sleep in separate rooms I recommend doing so. That includes pets too!
Open windows and doors
Allow as much air to circulate in the room as possible. Pull open your windows and doors. If you have a fan you could set it on low to help the air circulate even more without disturbing your sleep too much.
Freeze your bedding
I have to say I’ve never frozen my bedding but people say that doing so before you go to sleep can help cool you down. It won’t last the night but it might make you comfortable enough to get to sleep. Make sure you wrap your bedding in a bag when it’s in the freezer. You don’t want your bed smelling of your freezer food!
Put your water bottle in the freezer
I think this one is a great idea. When it’s cold I love to cuddle up to a hot water bottle. Conversely, a cold one should help you sleep on hot nights. You probably wouldn’t want to have it near your skin but you could put your frozen water bottle in your bed 30 minutes or so before you hit the sack.
I have a couple of heat packs that I use for sore muscles. As well as heating them, they can be frozen which I find great for getting cool at night. Place them on pulse points for a cooling effect on the rest of your body.
Do this before you go to bed to keep cool at night without a fan
Further down this post, I have tips for cooling down your room. But first, you need to make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance to cool down before bedtime so that you don’t end up spending the night tossing and turning in the heat.
Here are some tips to follow for your day so that you can sleep better in the heat come bedtime:
1. Avoid alcohol
If you are trying to keep cool at night you should try to avoid drinking alcohol before bed. Alcohol can cause your blood vessels to dilate which will cause you to sweat. Even when it isn’t hot, alcohol can prevent you from enjoying a good night’s sleep. Stick to water instead.
2. Avoid heavy meals
Avoid having a heavy evening meal that your system has to work hard to digest. Spicy food can cause you to sweat. Stick to a light meal and you will sleep better.
3. Avoid exercising before bed
Don’t exercise too close to bedtime. Your body temperature needs to drop a bit before you can fall asleep, and a recent workout can make that harder. Regular exercise can lead to a better night’s sleep, but it is best done in the morning before temperatures start to soar.
4. Avoid the sun during the day
Always avoid sunburn during the day because as well as being bad for your health red skin will cause more heat in the bed as well as being very uncomfortable. Wear sunscreen and stay in the shade when the sun is at its most intense in the middle of the day.
5. Have a cold shower
Take a cold shower before you go to bed to help bring down your body temperature. The effect won’t last the night but it could be enough to get you to sleep.
How to cool down your bedroom without a fan
When we want to keep a room cool the obvious thing is to reach for a fan or to turn on your air conditioning. But what if you don’t have or want to use either of them?
If your bedroom is on the top floor of your house (as ours is) you will know what a heat trap it can be. Here I have some tips to share that worked for us to get our room cool enough to get some sleep.
Insulate your home
As well as keeping you warm in the winter, insulation can keep the house cooler. Do you have sufficient insulation in your roof and cavities?
If you aren’t sure what to do, it can help to do a simple survey of your house with a thermal camera. Getting your own camera isn’t as expensive as you think. This one by Black & Decker is really quite affordable.
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Add reflective film to the windows
If you don’t have the budget or the time to insulate your home a quick and cheap fix is to add some reflective film to your windows. We did this to all our west-facing windows and the cooling effect was considerable. It is very easy to install too as it simply sticks onto the insides of your windows and blocks out infrared rays from the sun.
Shut the windows and curtains during the day
When it is hotter outside than it is inside, shut curtains and the windows during the day. Shutting a window stops the warmer air from getting into the room and curtains stop the infrared rays from the sun warming up the room.
Venetian blinds can be very useful for letting in a small amount of light and thus keeping the room cooler. I find tilting Venetian blinds upwards is best because it prevents the sun’s rays from projecting directly into the room.
Open windows and curtains when it gets dark
Once it gets dark it is safe to open the windows and curtains wide and let the cooler night air enter your room. Take care to switch off lights to avoid attracting bugs. The last thing you want is to get bitten at night!
Hang up some wet sheets over the window
Hang up some wet sheets in front of an open window. The breeze from outside will get cooled by the moisture before it comes into your room bringing down the temperature.
Turn off electrical items
Electrical items in your bedroom can generate heat. Turn them off to avoid heating the room. This includes lights too.