When temperatures soar, the natural inclination is to reach for the thermostat. But this can also trigger an out-of-control power bill. Before you crank up the air-conditioning to keep your bedroom cool, consider these tips to beat the heat without busting your energy bill budget.
A box window fan can help cool your bedroom, but only if used properly. If it’s cool outside, face the fan to blowing inwards to pull in the cooler air. If it’s hotter outside than in, face it to blow out to suck warm room air from the window. If you have a ceiling fan, set it to rotate counter-clockwise and run at a higher speed. It’ll suck warm air up and towards the ceiling away from you sleeping in the bed.
Leave some space
If you and your sleep partner are cuddlers and love to spoon, you might want to rethink your sleep posture on hot nights. Make sure you have a good quality mattress with no sags so that you won’t roll in towards each other. Bodies close to each other in bed are like kindling in a fire. Place a pillow between you so you won’t end up touching. That alone can give you a much cooler sleep experience.
Close the drapes
When you keep your room cooler all day, it’ll naturally be cooler at night. That means closing your curtains and blinds. Single pane windows lose 12-30% more heat than double-paned glass, so if you have basic windows, closing the drapes blocks sunlight that will heat your room. After dark, you can open them to catch any cool night breezes. Also, consider upgrading your windows.
Switch to seasonal bedding
Just as you swap your wardrobe from warmer to cooler options when the seasons change, do the same for your bedding. Some sheets and blanket materials are better suited for Fall and Winter. In hot months, bamboo sheets and bedding are cooler. Avoid polyester and other synthetics. Microfiber and moisture wicking smart fabric are other top hot weather bedding choices.
Invest in cooling upgrades
If your bedroom is on the top floor, extra insulation between the roof and your room can cool it down. If your attic is a hot zone, an attic fan can cool the bedroom and whole house. If you don’t have energy-efficient windows and don’t want to install them now, you can use plastic film to seal the windows and prevent heat transfer in hot months. Consider planting a shade tree outside the window.
Adjust your body temperature
Humanity has lived most of its span without the benefit of AC, so you can cool your body in addition to cooling your room. Don’t eat large meals. Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Choose loose moisture-wicking or natural fabrics. Go barefoot and avoid hats indoors. Apply cold compresses to the wrist, temple, and neck to trigger the hypothalamus to cool your body.
If you’re committed to lowering your energy consumption and costs, with a few thoughtful changes, you can achieve a cooler bedroom. Remember, you might need to experiment and see which works best for you and allow your body time to adjust to the new reality of not relying on air conditioning for comfort.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy's a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.
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