You just finished a long exhausting hot day. Relieved to be home, you get out of your car sweating. You hope to get shelter from the scorching sun so you hurry up inside. However, as you open the door to your room, you immediately feel the heat resonating like it’s the inside of a convection oven. Desperate to escape the heat, you turn the AC to full blast only to realize it costs a fortune and only cools the areas close to the AC vents.
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As you try to get to sleep, you twist and turn in bed. Your sheets get damp from your sweat and you become even more uncomfortable as you spend the night sighing every hour you realize you are not asleep. In the end, you sleep from sheer exhaustion only to be woken up 30 minutes later by the sound of your alarm marking the start of another long hot sleepless day.
A common problem
For many of us, this is the scenario we have to deal with when the temperatures start to rise. Not only are some people more prone to headaches during a spike in temperature, but it often makes getting sleep much more difficult.
Our home and our bed are supposed to be able to protect us from the harsh effects of weather. Keeping the temperatures within comfortable levels is important in relaxation and quality sleep. Despite that, many people make these 6 common sleeping mistakes in hot weather. Here is a list of the wrong things to do so you can avoid them.
1. LETTING YOUR HOUSE GET HOT
The worst thing you can do to your room during hot weather is to allow it to get hot in the first place. The amount of energy and money it takes to keep your house from getting hot is a lot less than the energy and money it will take to cool it back down. Once the heat has entered your home, the heat can get trapped in spaces, the air, the floor, the roof, the fabric and pretty much everywhere. To assure you sleep in a comfortable temperature during hot weather, you could incorporate these quick and easy steps:
How to keep your room from getting hot
Opening your window during the day is the worst thing you can do in hot weather. Keep your windows and doors closed to keep the hot air from raising the temperature inside. If your house is not well insulated you need to fix that or you will keep hemorrhaging money and sleep.
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For east and west windows you need to keep the sun’s rays from entering your rooms. The most optimal condition is to insulate the windows from the outside by installing woven screens or bamboo shades. This keeps the windows from heating up in the first place. You can also place furniture like patio umbrellas outside if you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing external blinds. You can also apply state of the art reflective window films to bounce 70 to 80 percent of the heat before it enters your windows.
On the inside of your window, you can put blinds to block out the rays, and hang thick curtains to block any light that sneak through the cracks of the blinds. The key here is to keep the heat out. If you have any creative ideas on how to accomplish that, you should try it as long as its safe.
Once the sun has set and the temperature outside has cooled down, make sure to open up your windows to ventilate your room. Ventilation is essential in keeping your room temperature comfortable. It keeps the humidity from building up (unless you live in a humid area or you have allergy issues) Also it is best to set your AC to a medium temperature of 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure your house does not heat up while keeping the energy costs at a minimum.
During extremely hot days, even the nights are hot. Opening your window to cool your room would not work because the hot air from the outside is just as hot as the air from the inside of your room.
There is a way around this because the overall temperature of air outside is a mixture of the heat emanating from the ground and cool air coming down from upper atmosphere. Angle your blinds where the surface of the blinds are sloping downwards towards your room so that the rising hot air from outside is blocked while the heavy cooled air slips through. This also enables the hot air inside your room to escape.
2. LEAVING THE WINDOW OPEN ALL NIGHT
What a lot of people do when trying to sleep in hot weather is leave the windows open all night. Though it is good to ventilate and cool-down the room before sleep, it can have unexpected effects if you do it by leaving the windows open.
During sleep your body temperature dips to its lowest point at around 3AM. Around this similar time period, the temperature outside is also extremely low. What happens is the muscles around your neck and your head tense up involuntarily because of the sudden drop in temperature. It can either wake you up prematurely or you will wake up feeling extremely tired with a headache due to the stiffened muscles around your neck.
Alternatives to leaving the window open
You can go old-school and simply form the habit of closing the window when you feel like you are about to doze-off.
You can try putting pillow cases, bed sheets, socks, or your blanket in the freezer to stay cool during hot nights. These will be good to use for 30 minutes to an hour so you have plenty of time to relax and sleep before the cooling effect wears off. Make sure to keep them from getting wet, bringing anything wet in your room will only trap dense humidity in your room and decrease overall comfort.
3. FIXING THE FAN ON YOUR FACE
Leaving a fan fixed to your face is quite similar to leaving your window open. The problem with using a fan to cool yourself off is the fact that it cools your body unevenly. This is why most fans have a selection that enables it to swivel from left to right.
If the breeze keeps hitting one side of your neck, it will have a similar effect to leaving your windows open. Your neck muscles will stiffen. You will either wake you up prematurely or get a headache when you wake up in the morning. Sometimes fixing the fan to your back can make you sick. A fan also has an annoying tendency to accumulate dust. This can cause allergic reactions since the amount of allergens in the room get funneled from the fan to your face.
Alternatives to fixing the fan on your face
Instead of fixing a harsh breeze on your face, point the fan towards a wall. It will spread the breeze along a much wider area, helping cool your body more evenly.
Sleeping naked has many health advantages. Most importantly it helps in staying cool during hot weather by enabling easier ventilation of our body’s hot spots like armpits and the groin area.
Taking a cold shower right before bed is an extremely effective way of staying cool in hot weather. Additionally, taking cold showers have amazingly positive effects on health. Just make sure to keep it quick, and that you are in relatively good cardiovascular health. A sudden rush of cold water can be quite shocking to the system, but the benefits heavily outweigh the risks.
If you have any straw beds or mats, these types of surfaces are the coolest places to sleep on during hot weather. They allow air to pass through them which prevents the accumulation on heat underneath. Breathable oval chairs and hammocks are also good alternatives to your traditional mattress.
4. EATING FOOD RIGHT BEFORE YOU SLEEP
Your body temperature right after you eat can rise up to 2 degrees. This is due to the fact that your body is using its energy to digest the food in your stomach. This can last for a few hours after you eat and if you try to sleep within those hours, the heat from your body will make the weather feel a lot warmer than it actually is.
How to stop eating food right before you sleep
It’s best to have your last meal of that day at 8PM at the latest. Eating too close to your sleep time has harmful health effects aside from making sleep harder. Luckily there is a healthy crutch for those who have difficulty stopping the unhealthy habit of eating right before sleep.
Instead of eating foods rich in carbohydrates and fat, relieve that nighttime hunger with light fruits such as berries and bananas. You can also try steaming some delicious veggies like okra, string beans or broccoli. It is best to select healthy foods high in fiber and low on calories.
5. LEAVING HEAT-PRODUCING ELECTRONICS TURNED ON
Heat not only originates from outside your house, but inside your home as well. Electronic devices such as laptops, DVD players, and tablets may seem like they release a small amount of heat, however these electronics among many others can make a significant difference if you leave them on all day.
I have a 1st generation Xbox 360 and this machine exudes heat like a furnace. Consoles are often times huge sources of heat when in use. Lamps, lava lamps, incandescent light bulbs or anything that emanates light often times release a good amount of heat into its surroundings as well.
How to minimize the heat from electronics
It used to be Incandescent light bulbs, and then CFL light bulbs. Previously too expensive and too dim, LED light bulbs are making a comeback. Not only are these lights more energy efficient and longer lasting, LED lights also have the lowest heat output making it the perfect light source for warm weather.
Using a console for hours inside your room will heat it up super quick. In hot weather make sure to bring your work and your games outside your room so these electronics do not trap the heat inside your place of rest.
6. YOU DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR ROOM
The human body releases heat, water vapor, and if you just ate some beans, gasses. You significantly affect the comfort level in your room. Thus, the longer you stay in your room the more heat and humid it becomes. Exercising inside your room makes the effects even more noticeable due to your sweat and increased breathing. All that water from within your body is mixed with the air, increasing the humidity. And we all know that the more humid it is, the stickier it gets in hot weather. This it why it is best to stay in your room only when you are about to sleep.
Tips on how to do this
If you have to stay in your room for a long time before sleep, maximize the ventilation by opening the door to your room and have a fan running. This enables the heat and humidity generated by your body to be flushed out of the room.
As I have stated earlier, sweating increase the amount of heat and humidity the body releases. Schedule your workouts outside of your room to preserve the comfort level inside.
Consistent quality sleep is important to overall health
These sleep tips are very important to overall health. Since sleep influences your mental health, cardiovascular health and your overall longevity, making sure you sleep well through the entire year is paramount. Recent studies have found the importance of sleep quality to weight loss, learning and brain maintenance, and there are even more studies coming out fortifying the countless benefits of quality sleep. There is a reason as to why the body designates 40 to 50 percent of the day to sleep.
Take action now
Sleep is just as important as exercise, so make sure to devote as much time and effort in having a quality night’s sleep. The key here is to take action right now. The tips written in this article are necessary to have a good nights sleep in hot weather. Having a great night of sleep will give you great skin, better mood, more energy, improved athletic performance, and many more benefits. Write these tips down on a piece of paper or on your notepad to ensure you do not forget these essential tips and have another hot sleepless night.