A few years ago, my husband and I, along with our two young daughters spent some time living in Africa and Latin America. Both countries were hot, hot, hot in the summer time. Not only was it hot, but it was humid as well.
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 humid as well. By some miracle, the girls went to sleep fine. My husband and I on the other hand were desperately tossing and turning in sheer sweaty exhaustion. We couldn’t sleep for anything, we were so freaking hot!
Finally, our desperation bred a plan. We got a pair of socks and soaked them dripping wet in the sink. We then proceeded to put those sopping wet socks on our feet. Amazingly, our bodies cooled down considerably and we were able to sleep for a couple hours–until the socks were dry. We got up, wet them again, and repeated the process the rest of the night. Our desperation had certainly turned into a mother of invention.
We now live back in the good ole’ US of A. However, we don’t have one of those nice comfortable new air-conditioned houses. Ours is an old farmhouse with just enough insulation to keep the mice happy in the walls. So how do we keep cool here? Let me share some of our tips. Maybe it’ll save you some horrible hot sleepless nights.
1. We have trees shading our house. Now I know that’s kind-of a long-term solution, but planting a tree is a whole lot cheaper than tearing out walls and re-insulating.
2. We open the windows AFTER dark and put box fans in them blowing the cool air into the house all night long. In the morning, right when we get up, we remove the fans and close the windows up tight to keep the hot air out.
3. We keep the windows covered. It’s amazing how much heat a window can let in. We keep dark curtains pulled over the windows that let in most of the sun–even during the day.
4. We put window air conditioner units in the bedrooms. It’s too expensive for us to air condition the entire house, but we do find running a couple units at night is affordable and makes sleep much more comfortable.
5. We move most of our activities during the day to the coolest part of the house. Our master bedroom happens to be on the east side and is therefore not heated up by the hot afternoon sun as much. We moved the TV and even my office into the master bedroom and find ourselves spending a lot of time in there. If it gets too hot, we shut the bedroom door and turn on the window A/C unit for a little while to cool it down.
While we’d love to have a nicely air conditioned and insulated house, it just isn’t feasible at this time. However, using these little tips has really made a difference in being able to enjoy the summer, sleep well, and be comfortable.