When the temperature rises, it’s tough to get cool enough to fall and stay asleep. But a few bedroom upgrades can make a big difference. Here are some suggestions, and tips for keeping cool without buying a thing.
1. Create a cross-breeze
Place a fan across from a window so the wind from outside combines with the fan to make a cooling cross-breeze. Set up multiple fans around the room to make the airflow even more boisterous. If the noise from open windows keeps you up and the fan noise isn’t enough to cover it, try a sound machine (maybe with forest noises!).
2. Choose cotton
Save the satin, silk, or polyester sheets for cooler nights. Light-colored bed linens made of lightweight cotton (Egyptian or otherwise) or linen are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow. In the heat, cotton jammies will help you fall asleep faster. And according to research, they’ll soothe you into the deepest, most restorative sleep stage better than bulkier fabrics like wool.
3. Keep the critters in their own beds
This one can be a challenge if you’ve got cuddly pets waiting to snuggle up with their big, hot bodies. If you can resist their puppy-dog eyes, try to have them sleep in their own separate beds (or at least at the bottom of yours).
4. Buy an air conditioner (or a fan)
Install an air conditioner, if you can. Not everyone can fit a unit in a wall or window, but portable air conditioners don’t need either to function. The downsides are they’re much less efficient than the window and wall-mounted units, and in some cases they don’t work very well because instead of cooling indoor air and radiating heat outdoors, they operate entirely inside. (If you have central air, lucky you!)
5. Block out the light
Another way to control the temperature of your bedroom — or any room — in warm weather is to keep the light out during the brightest hours of the day, and then open the curtains to allow built-up heat to dissipate during the cool evening hours. Insulated blackout curtains can keep your room dark and cool in the summer, but also prevent warm air from escaping through windows in the winter.
6. Put your sheets in the freezer
This one’s low-tech, but it works surprisingly well if you’re willing to make your bed before you settle in for the night. Pop your sheets — or even just your fitted sheet or top sheet — into a resealable plastic bag and into the freezer. Put them on your bed right before bedtime, and you’ll enjoy a cool start to the night.
7. Fill a water bottle with ice water and take it to bed
Sometimes the oldest methods are the best. Grab a hot water bottle (the silicone kind that you’d normally fill with hot water) and fill it with cold water and ice. Wrap it in a towel or other absorbent cloth, and keep it near your feet while you sleep.
Insulation is key year-round
All those beautiful photos you can find on Pinterest of glorious exposed rafters notwithstanding, insulation is a must. Although it’s not something fun to spend money on — ,adding insulation to the walls and attic should be your first priorities. It’s not as fun as new countertop but it will save you money and make you more comfortable in your house.
How exactly does insulation work? The way thermodynamics work is heat flows from a hotter place to a cooler place. Not having insulation means heat is seeping into your house and your air conditioner is having to work a lot harder.
You may want to have an insulation contractor take some thermal images to make sure that heat is not screaming in through your ceiling.