We’re into the dog days of summer now, and it’s time to unwind and enjoy the sunshine! But is your bedroom up to the task? Now is a great time to take inventory of your sleeping space and see how you can make a change to sleep better, no matter what the heat, and get your room into the summertime spirit!
Use the air conditioning
You may want to hold out as long as possible before turning on that a/c system. Not only does it increase your carbon footprint and your electric bill, air conditioners can sometimes aggravate health problems. However, keeping it cool while you sleep has been scientifically proven to give you better rest. If you’re going to splurge, this is the place to do it.
Not everyone has central air, so if you can, consider getting a smaller window unit. Still not convinced? There are more options for optimizing your bedroom and chilling out in bed without using the air conditioning.
If you don’t have a fan, get one. Try a box fan to blow air out of the room and adjust ceiling fans so the blades are counter-clockwise to pull hot air up.
You can also use natural air flow to supplement an air conditioner so you’re not using it as much. Though they don’t actually cool down a room, the moving air will evaporate sweat from your skin – the more evaporation, the cooler you feel. Many older houses have attic fans to vent hot air out, and you can use your bathroom fans to help do the same thing (especially after your steamy showers).
Try the old trick of sticking ice in front of your fan to cool the air that it circulates.
Treat your body right
In the summer, you’re always out and about enjoying the weather. But eating late at night or drinking caffeine and alcohol can affect your sleep quality. So can a constantly changing sleep schedule – get your light in the morning and sleep when it’s dark. Don’t make your body work harder while it’s trying to sleep!
Feeling sweaty? Give yourself a quick rinse before you slide into the sheets to cool your body temperature.
Check the room
You want to do what you can to stop heat from building up. Clear out the clutter to keep things light and airy – not only will this open up the space for air flow, it’s a good excuse to change to summertime décor. If you have both blinds and curtains, take the curtains down and just use blinds – or swap out for a lighter color or fabric. It’s still important to block out the sunlight and keep windows closed during the day – it’s much hotter outside than inside. Then open things up at night when it cools off. There’s even a trick of hanging cold, damp sheets in an open window – then when the air blows through it will be cooler than the outside temperature.
Have rugs on the floor? Roll them up to increase the cool floor space or replace them with something thinner like bamboo.
Change Your Theme
There’s a reason lighter tones are often associated with hot areas. White reflects, so it’s a great choice for window coverings and on your bed (if you want to add a white headboard or platform bed, we know a few). It can also feel cooler to brighten your space, which can put your mind at ease so you can sleep. Darker colors absorb heat, keeping it in when you want it out!
Adding indoor plants is another great way to stay cool. Some plants like the “snake plant” act as a natural humidifier and release more oxygen into the air which promotes deeper sleep. If you’re in it for the long haul, look on the outside too. Planting a shade tree will protect your room from the sun.
On to bed
You’re spending most of your time in your bedroom in your bed, so make sure it’s optimized for the season. Let’s start with the mattress. Some mattresses have cooling technology to improve airflow and regulate your body’s temperature. If buying a new mattress is out of the picture, there are different types of mattress toppers available that have the same benefits, but at a lower cost. Even pillows are starting you use these materials, so you can stop flipping the pillow over to the cooler side.
Or, maybe don’t even use a standard mattress. Go minimalist and consider an air mattress (remember what we said about air flow) or even a mat (if your back can handle it). If you’re adventurous, consider swinging up a hammock to snooze in the breeze. Head outdoors on especially steamy nights and take advantage of the natural air flow.
For the summer, it’s all about breathable materials on your bed and on you. Using cotton, silk or polyester can promote better ventilation and air flow, allowing your body heat to escape the covers. If you haven’t already, minimize your blankets and comforters. Stay away from dark colors which can absorb heat during the day.
Use Your Freezer
Your freezer is another way to keep cool. By sticking your sheets in a plastic bag in the freezer you can temporarily have cooling relief. Use a freezer pack under the covers with you as a bed-friendly ice pack or even as a cold compress against your skin. No freezer pack? If you own an insulated water bottle, fill it with cold water and put it in the freezer.
Reduce Light and Heat in the House
Using black out curtains on any windows in your bedroom you greatly reduce the amount of sunlight and heat your bedroom is exposed to. Don’t forget lightbulbs and electronics can give off more heat than you’d expect, so opt for low wattage lights and power down devices in the evening to avoid unnecessary heat from being trapped in your room.
This goes for other rooms, too. Many people have their bedrooms on the upper floor, and heat rises. Minimize using energy where you can and keep air moving throughout your home. Avoid using the oven or the dryer if it’s really a scorcher.
These changes don’t have to be complicated! Pick a few easy updates and see how they help you sleep – and help you save on that electric bill.