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Don’t Sweat It; Reduce Your Bedroom Temperature This Summer

DON’T SWEAT IT; REDUCE YOUR BEDROOM TEMPERATURE THIS SUMMER

While summer can be the most fun time of year for families everywhere, heat can also be a factor that robs you of sleep or makes you crank up your AC system so much that utility bills can go through the roof.

Initial Steps to Make Your Bedroom Cooler

The Spruces’ Michelle Ullman begins first by explaining how tweaking your bedroom’s furnishings to a summertime ensemble can keep you cool and offer a better night’s rest. Many Americans don’t know that in other countries (especially where AC is not that common), homeowners completely change out the interior of their homes, removing area rugs, changing draperies, and storing winter bedding.

Another good initial step is switching to a light, open weave 100 percent cotton blanket. “Both the material and the weave make this bedside covering far more breathable than a microfiber or tightly woven blanket,” says Ullman. “The weight lends just enough to feel securely covered and still remain comfortable, even in the warmest climates. Choose a light-colored blanket or one with a delicate pattern to make the room cooling to the eye, as well.”

As you store away your flannels for a while, think about treating yourself to lightweight 100 percent cotton sheets as well. “Contrary to popular belief, the thread count doesn’t have to be high for a comfortable night’s rest,” advises Ullman. “In fact, high thread counts can sometimes be too insulating for the summer (a 400 thread count works best). Look for sheets made from extra-long staple cotton—like Egyptian or Pima—for the coolest and softest option. Select sheets that are white or come in a pale pastel for a blast of psychological cooling, to boot.”

Finding that cool spot on your pillow all night long can rob you of sleep, looking for relief from the heat. Ullman suggests placing a gel-filled cooling mat over the top of your pillow for an always-comfortable spot to lay your head. “The thin mat is filled with the squishy gel found in reusable ice packs and is sized to fit on top of a standard pillow,” she says. “Because the pad is moldable, you’ll hardly notice it’s there. For an extra cool head, place the mat in the fridge or freezer just before bedtime. But even a pad left at room temperature will lend relief, as the inner gel feels much cooler than the surrounding air, wicking heat away from your body.”

More Practical Steps

A small bedside fan in addition to a ceiling fan that might already exist in your bedroom can help as well. Perch it on your nightstand or dresser and direct it toward where you need it most. If that’s not enough, Ullman suggests setting a bowl of ice cubes and chilled water in front of the fan to keep the constant flow of air from drying out your nose and throat. “To cool down the whole room before bed, flip on the ceiling fan to dissipate the warm air that collects up high,” she adds.

Even in a humid climate, central air conditioning can greatly reduce indoor humidity, leaving you parched, explains Ullman, who goes on to suggest adding a humidifier to the equation to provide just enough moisture to keep you cool and comfortable. “Run it near your bedside and change the water each day to prevent the buildup of molds.”

Believe it or not, a lightweight, low-fill down duvet can actually keep you cool. Ullman explains how the fill equates to the measurement of feathers contained inside the duvet, and how 400-600-fill duvets work best year-round in climates with four seasons. If, however, you run warm or live in a subtropical climate, a duvet with a fill power under 400 is more suitable. “Lightweight duvets tend to contain more feathers than down—feathers are less insulating and very breathable—making them an excellent choice of fill for the muggy months. Finish your summer bedding with a duvet cover in a soft color or a simple pattern for an overall airy vibe.”

Old-fashioned remedies rock as well. Use a rubberized hot water bottle to cool you off by storing it in the fridge during the day, then slipping it under your sheets at bedtime. “Use it to cool your feet, tuck it behind your knees, or prop it under your neck and your entire body will feel cooler. This is a great way for menopausal women to ward off dreaded hot flashes, as well,” says Ullman.

Additional Summer Tips

Now, look around. Pretty window treatments don’t necessarily mean practical window coverings. If they are for more than decor, close them during the night when you’re ready to go to sleep to help keep the heat of the day out of the room. “If that morning or afternoon sun pours into the windows, simply close those blinds or other window treatments as it will help tremendously to keep the room cool,” says Ullman. She also suggests blinds or light-blocking (blackout) curtains or roll-down shades to help keep the heat out.

Wonder why your AC never seems to switch off? If your windows are not sealed properly, the cold air can leak out through those cracks. “Caulk and window stripping gets old and needs to be fixed or replaced,” says Ullman. “Making sure those windows are sealed tight is a good step toward keeping the room cooler. Check the windows inside and outside, looking for any cracks in the caulking, as that’s a sure sign you will need to recaulk. It will not only keep the cold air inside the house but sealing your windows will keep the bugs outside where they belong.”

Speaking of windows, you can also place a reflective film on the outside of your bedroom windows to keep the heat out. While light can still enter, the film blocks UV rays, keeping the room cooler in the summer. It also retains the heat inside of the home during the winter months, so you can’t lose on that score, either.

Some of us forget that keeping a door closed is also a no-no. “Think of it this way,” says Ullman. “The air conditioner kicks on, thus moving air around the entire house; if a door is closed, then it blocks the air from moving freely throughout all the rooms.”

If heat rules the day every summer for you, consider planting trees and bushes in front of the bedroom windows or installing awnings on them. They will provide shade, keeping the room cooler. “Make sure to strategically place any trees so they don’t block your view outside or cause issues with roots,” advises Ullman. “Trees can provide shade for many years to come, plus you can enjoy being cooler sitting under them while you’re outside, too.”

TheSpruce, TBWS

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