My first apartment was a dilapidated brownstone, built in 1905.
I adored the place, but it had all the problems that come with living in a 112-year-old building: faulty plumbing, tricky cleaning, and—most notably—no air conditioning.
**Queue the groans**
This made summer evenings much harder to sleep in than the winter when I at least had heating. Like, so difficult. If you’ve ever tried to maintain a healthy sleep schedule in a hot room, you get it.
But those sweltering summer nights made me adaptive.
And although I have an AC unit now, I’ve learned a few tips for getting your best night’s sleep in the summer regardless of the circumstances.
1. Cool down the room.
As hot as the brownstone was, I happened to spend those summers working at historical sites, which were much hotter.
You learn plenty of ways to keep a house cool without air conditioning when you have to pretend it hasn’t been invented yet, so I was able to steal some tricks to keep my room cool at night, such as:
–Putting a fan in the window
–Trying a standing fan, set to oscillate and rotate
–Cooking your meals earlier in the day so that the kitchen has time to cool down
–Closing off the kitchen from the rest of the house
–Keeping the doors open to improve circulation
—Dehumidifiers also make a space feel less stuffy and can really change the entire feeling of the room
2. Cool down the bed itself.
In addition to cooling down your space in your bedroom, there are also ways to cool down your bed itself. Lighter, airy blankets and sheets can give you the comfort of being wrapped up without adding too much warmth.
You can also try out cooling technology pillows and cooling technology blankets. There are even bamboo weighted blankets with cooling materials for the comfort of a weighted blanket without overheating.
Lastly, you can try a cooling mattress pad for extra cushion and extra chill.
3. Soak up the sun during the day.
According to the CDC, bright lights have a direct effect on your circadian rhythm, especially during the high-sensitivity periods between when you go to bed and right after you wake up. It’s one of the reasons doctors tell you to stay off your phones at bedtime to help you fall asleep.
Interestingly, it also states that light exposure earlier in the day can make your body want to fall asleep earlier at night.
In other words: Getting your best night’s sleep in the summer starts first thing in the morning. Since the sun rises so much earlier in the summer, try taking your morning coffee out on the porch or replacing the black-out curtains with breezy sheers that let the morning in.
Or you could always do what I did and take a morning walk to the farmers market that’s set up across the street from your old brownstone.
4. Make your schedule consistent.
Between parties and festivals, summer is a rush of activities that keep you out late. Life is short, and summer is shorter, so I’m not going to tell anyone not to make the most of the season. But if you find yourself sleep-deprived, try doing your best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
This will help your body release serotonin at consistent times, allowing you to wake up and fall asleep naturally.
Drinking water throughout the day and before bed can help with feeling overheated, parched and uncomfortable in your warm summer room. I personally loved a glass of ice water on the bedside table to drink before bed and wake up to. Plus, there are no downsides to stay hydrated, water really is the gift that keeps on giving.
Whether you’re in an Edwardian brownstone or a modern mansion, sleep is essential.
Finding ways to protect it is the key to getting the most out of your precious summer days.