When the heat is on this summer, these low-tech, low-cost tips will help you keep your cool!
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One thing’s for certain – as soon as the weather turns sunny, we all start complaining about being too hot!
I love summer, but I have to admit that a long period of hot weather can get a bit uncomfortable. It’s much easier to cope with the heat when you are relaxing on holiday, than when it’s still 25C at 10.30pm and you have to get up for work in the morning.
And while air conditioning can make your house more comfortable, it’s noisy and expensive – especially considering we usually have about three days of summer each year.
So here are 25 low-tech, low-cost ways to help you keep cool when the temperature is heading upwards.
Keep Cool with Water
Splash water over your wrists
There is a major vein that runs through your wrists so running cool water over them will help to cool you down. It’s a good way to cool yourself down quickly if you’re feeling hot.
Icepacks on pulse points
Working along similar lines, you can try holding an icepack over your pulse points in your wrists, neck or behind your knees. Be sure to wrap it in a cloth though, to avoid burning your skin.
Use a cooling mist
When I was pregnant during the summer months, I used to rely on a can of cooling spray to help keep me comfortable.
These days I keep cans of Eau Thermale Avene water spray* on my desk and in my handbag so that one is always close at hand to cool me down. It’s very refreshing, and also helps to sooth sensitive or irritated skin.
Ice in front of a fan
For a low-cost alternative to air-con, freeze a bottle of water, or fill a bowl with ice cubes and place it in front of a fan on your desk. The air will cool as it passes over the ice, it feels very refreshing!
Hang a damp sheet up
If you want to cool down a room, try hanging a damp bedsheet in front of an open window. It will cool the air as it passes through the sheet, making the room feel cooler and more comfortable.
Have a tepid shower
I know this sounds wrong and you probably would feel more like having a cold shower. But that makes your body divert blood flow away from the skin, in an attempt to conserve body heat.
So try having a shower or bath that is just below body temperature instead. Water that is in the mid-20C range will help lower your body temperature while still allowing blood flow to the skin.
Cooling your Home
Check your ceiling fan
If you’re lucky enough to have ceiling fans, the direction that you run them in can make a big difference.
Ceiling fans should run anti-clockwise to cool the room. If you run the fan in a clockwise direction, it causes an updraft that will force warm air downards.
Keep curtains closed during the day
I know you want to see the glorious blue sky and sunshine, but allowing the sun to stream in through your windows will just heat the house up even more.
Keeping your blinds and curtains closed will help to reduce the heat, especially in south-facing rooms.
Turn off lights and unneeded gadgets
You might not think it makes much difference, but each light bulb kicks out a small amount of heat. One bulb doesn’t make much heat on its own, but the combined effect can be noticeable.
And that includes energy-saving LED bulbs, and gadgets on standby will be producing heat as well. So keep them turned off to help keep your room cooler as well as saving energy and money!
Open up the loft hatch
If you live in a house with a loft, opening the hatch allows hot air to rise up into the loft space. That should help to reduce the temperature in the rest of the house.
Keeping Cool at Bedtime
Hot air rises, so in warm weather your rooms upstairs will be warmer than those downstairs. If you’re struggling to get comfortable enough for sleep, consider heading downstairs if possible.
If you live in a single storey flat or house, then sleeping on the floor in your bedroom might give you a little respite from the heat.
Choose natural fabrics at bedtime
Synthetic fabrics can make you sweat more, which is bound to make sleep more difficult. Choosing natural fabrics such as cotton, bamboo or silk will help make you feel more comfortable.
There are two lines of thought on this. Some people think that you’ll be cooler if you are naked, whereas some people think that the wicking effect of light cotton nightwear will make you cooler.
My opinion is go with whatever makes you feel more comfortable!
Freeze a hot water bottle
You might have packed your hot water bottle away at the end of the winter, but it’s time to dig it back out again.
Freezing your hottie will turn it into an icepack that will help cool you down in bed. But make sure you don’t overfill it to allow room for the water to expand as it freezes.
Chill your bed
If you’re really desperate to feel coler, try folding your sheets and pillowcases, placing them in plastic bags, and popping them in the freezer for a few hours before bedtime.
It’s only a temporary effect, but it may last long enough for you to drop off!
Food and Drink
Eat smaller, lighter meals
Eating raises your body temperature as it metabolises the food. You probably don’t feel much like eating a big meal anyway, but sticking to smaller servings of cold food will help reduce that effect.
Salads and cold meals work well in the summer, or try cooking outdoors on the barbecue rather than firing up the oven.
Eat spicy food
It might sound like an odd suggestion, but eating spicy food can help to cool you down in hot weather.
The effect of the spices makes your body divert blood to the skin to try and reduce the body’s core temperature.
Drink a cup of tea or coffee
This may also sound wrong, but drinking hot drinks can help to cool you down. Drinking the hot liquid makes your brain divert blood flow to your skin to try and cool your body down.
But don’t drink too much tea and coffee. Caffeine has a dehydrating effect, so keep an eye on your intake of tea, coffee and cola as well.
Keep hydrated, and avoid alcohol
I know an ice-cold glass of wine or cider in the sun might sound very ytempting, but alcohol dehydrates you so it’s not the best choice for keeping cool.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and other alcohol-free drinks. Also check the colour of your urine to make sure you aren’t getting dehydrated, it should be a pale straw/yellow colour.
Drink mint tea
The cooling effect of the menthol in mint will help you feel cooler. If you don’t like mint tea, you could try adding some mint to to a glass of lemonade or sparkling water instead.
Pop some grapes or berries in the freezer
Frozen fruit makes a delicious and refreshing snack, so pop a few grapes in the freezer for a cooling treat. Frozen berries also work well, and you could use them to top some yoghurt.
Choose light coloured clothing
Wearing white and light coloured clothing will help reflect sun and keep you cooler. Remember to choose natural fabrics where possible, and light, floaty fabrics will also help to make you feel cooler.
Exercise in the coolest parts of the day
If possible, try fit your workouts into the early morning or late evening when the air is cooler. You’ll probably still feel uncomfortably warm, but it’s safer than exercising in the mid-day heat.
Try yogic breathing
This way of breathing will cool your breath as it enters your lungs, and it can help to relieve stress as well.
Curl your tongue by pulling both sides upward toward the middle – if you’re not able to do this then purse your lips instead. Breathe in through your mouth, and you should notice how cool the air feels. Hold your breath, then slowly exhale through your nose.
Repeat this five to 10 times and you’ll feel all cool and relaxed.
When you’re feeling hot and bothered, get yourself comfortable, close your eyes and visualise a cold, snowy location. Research has shown that by doing this, your brain can actually be fooled into lowering your body temperature.