A few years ago, my husband and I, along with our two young daughters, spent time living in Africa and Latin America. Both countries were hot, hot, hot in the summer. It was not only hot, but also humid.
I remember one night in Africa we were sleeping (or should I say trying to sleep) in an upstairs motel room. There was no cross ventilation, and I dare say the temperature was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It was also wet. By some miracle, the girls went to sleep well. My husband and I, on the other hand, were desperately tossing and turning in sheer sweaty exhaustion. We couldn’t sleep for nothing, we were terribly hot!
Finally, our desperation spawned a plan. We got a pair of socks and soaked them in the sink. We then proceeded to put those soggy socks on our feet. Surprisingly, our bodies cooled down considerably and we were able to sleep for a couple of hours, until the socks were dry. We got up, drenched them again, and repeated the process for the rest of the night. Our despair had certainly turned into a mother of invention.
We now live in the good old United States of A. However, we don’t have one of those nice comfortable new houses with air conditioning. Ours is an old farmhouse with just enough insulation to keep the mice in the walls happy. So how do we stay cool here? Let me share some of our tips. Maybe it will save you some horrible hot sleepless nights.
1. We have trees that shade our house. Now I know it’s kind of a long term solution, but planting a tree is much cheaper than tearing down walls and re-insulating.
2. We open the windows AFTER dark and put in box fans that blow cool air into the house all night. In the morning, as soon as we get up, we turn off the fans and close the windows so that the hot air does not enter.
3. We keep the windows covered. It’s amazing how much heat a window can let in. We keep blackout shades drawn over the windows that let in most of the sun, even during the day.
4. We put window air conditioning units in the bedrooms. It’s too expensive for us to put air conditioning in the whole house, but we find that having a couple units at night is affordable and makes sleeping much more comfortable.
5. We move most of our activities during the day to the coolest part of the house. Our main bedroom is on the east side and therefore does not get as hot in the afternoon sun. We moved the TV and even my office into the master bedroom and found ourselves spending a lot of time there. If it’s too hot, we close the bedroom door and turn on the window AC unit for a while to cool it down.
While we’d love to have a home with good air conditioning and insulation, it’s just not feasible right now. However, using these little tips has really made all the difference in being able to enjoy the summer, sleep well and be comfortable.