My apartment is on the fifth floor of a 5-story building in Istanbul. Trees don’t grow that high, the roof is flat, and my windows face the sunny side. That is why in the summer, when the temperature outside gets up to 100°F, my apartment turns into a Finnish sauna.
It’s impossible to fall asleep and sleep well in these conditions. Since I don’t have an air conditioner, I have to figure out different ways to cool myself.
I would like to share my tricks and tips with 5 Fun Facts readers for how I manage to cool down my bed and how I’m able to sleep comfortably.
To make sure the room is cool at night, it should be cool during the daytime.
To keep the room cool, you should air it out correctly. I shut the windows when the temperature outside is higher than 75 °F and open them when the temperature drops below that. Usually the lowest temperature of the day is between 4 am and 7 am, so I open windows in the morning and after 8 pm.
To avoid the sun heating the apartment, it’s important to use the right curtains. I’ve tried different fabrics and came to the conclusion that it’s better to stay away from synthetic curtains — they quickly heat up and fade. Thick linen curtains in white are the best.
If you don’t want heat to stay inside your apartment, it’s better to get rid of things that collect dust like carpets, rugs, and sofa pillows. It will make the air cleaner and cooler.
When airing your room, wet a towel, and hang it in front of the open window. It will help you to quickly cool down your home. But don’t leave the towel over night. A room that is too wet can also become very humid.
In the past, when air conditioning didn’t exist, people used to wet the floors. Then the room temperature dropped immediately and it was comfortable to fall asleep.
Use ceiling fans.
They are cheap, get fixed to the ceiling, and cool down the room pretty well. If you have this type of fan, make sure that the switch is in summer mode. Many fans have 2 modes for different seasons.
- If you can’t find a switch check the fan blades. They should rotate counterclockwise so that the air is pulled upwards.
A homemade air conditioner
A regular fan just moves air around the room, and its motor actually heats the room. But any fan can be turned into a real air conditioner.
- Freeze a few bottles or other containers with water and place them in front of the fan. In this case cool air will be blown all over the room. When the heat is strong, I freeze 2 sets of bottles and change them every 4-5 hours.
Cooling down the bed
If your bed linens are made of satin or synthetics, it’s better to replace them with cotton or silk bed linens. Cotton sheets absorb sweat well and cool down the skin.
Also, wear pajamas made of cotton, they breathe better. Or sleep without clothes on. That’s even a better way out.
Another way to cool down your bed is to put your sheets and pillow cases in the fridge, and before going to sleep, make your bed with them. Just don’t put your comforter in the freezer, you can get sick by doing this.
Mattresses with memory foam show a high capacity for heat retention. It’s good for winter but not for summer. My mattress is exactly like this, so I put a cotton mattress topper on it (which you can also put in the fridge).
When you have an air conditioner:
A friend of mine has an air conditioner at home. It saves her from heat but she catches cold because of it and is sick all the time. When the air conditioner is on — it’s too cold, when it’s off — it’s too hot. She can’t find a happy medium.
Scientists claim that we sleep better at a temperature of about 64°F. So try to sustain this temperature if possible. Many air conditioners have a function for temperature retention or night mode. It could be called something different — health save, night mode, etc. — just check the manual. In this mode, an air conditioner turns on and off keeping the same temperature in the room.
If your air conditioner doesn’t have this function, shut all the windows and turn on the air conditioner for 2-3 hours with the coldest mode on, then turn it off.
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