IT’S TIME TO MAKE THOSE SWEATY, SLEEPLESS NIGHTS A THING OF THE PAST.
As temperatures rise throughout the summer, getting a good night’s sleep begins to seem like an increasingly impossible task. According to a 2019 study published in PLoS One, people tend to get the shortest amount of sleep in the summertime, phenomenon researchers suggested could be linked to the rise in temperature. And considering that, amid the coronavirus pandemic, many rooms once designated for sleep are now offices as well, there’s never been a more important time to keep your bedroom cool.
So, how can you avoid another sweltering summer in your home? Read on to discover what experts recommend for keeping your bedroom cool all season.
Want to keep your bedroom cooler? Try honing your green thumb.
“Trees or other greenery can block some of the sun and keep rooms cooler throughout the day,” explains Mark Dawson, COO of One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. The larger the plant, the more sunlight it will block!
Those sheer curtains may look nice, but they’re making your bedroom hotter. “Installing blinds or heavy curtains can substantially decrease the amount of heat that seeps into the room via the window,” explains Dawson, who notes that this is of particular importance if your room gets a lot of light at sunrise or sunset.
You don’t need to rack up major air conditioning bills to keep your bedroom cooler. Instead, just turn on your ceiling fan—but make sure you’re using it right.
“The wind chill effect that ceiling fans create helps you feel comfortable without needing to adjust the thermostat,” says Dawson. “Reverse the motor to move the blades in a counterclockwise rotation to create a breeze effect in the summer.”
Incandescent lightbulbs aren’t just increasing your energy costs—they’re increasing the temperature in your bedroom, too.
“That old-school incandescent give off 90 percent of their energy as heat,” explains Marla Mock, VP of Operations, AireServ, a Neighborly company. Mock suggests replacing them with CFLs, which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer, or LEDs, which use 80 percent less energy and last 25 times longer.
Keeping your bedroom cooler could be as simple as upgrading your thermostat. Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature from anywhere, meaning you can start cooling your bedroom long before you return home.
Mock adds that smart thermostats will save you up to 20 percent on cooling bills over the course of a year and “can help your family reduce its environmental impact, boosting efficiency via energy usage data.”
If you find that your bedroom gets uncomfortably warm, cleaning your air conditioner filter might just fix the problem.
“When things clog up, the unit will not cool as well and in fact, work much harder and use more energy,” explains Mock, who cautions that this can cause a serious increase in your electric bill. And for more great tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Upgrading to energy-efficient windows can help keep cold air in your home for longer. However, if replacing your old windows isn’t in the budget, there’s still a simple way to keep your bedroom cooler on a dime.
“If you want to fix your old windows, caulking or weather-stripping will be an excellent option to stop the cool air from leaking out of the window,” explains Werner Jorgensen, a sales manager at Heatxperts.
A typical reflective window film rejects 63 percent of the sun’s solar energy. Basically, it still allows light to shine through your windows but filters out just enough so that your room won’t overheat.
Find that your bedroom is getting hotter by the day? It could be your attic.
“An estimated 25 percent of energy is lost due to poor attic insulation,” explains Zach Reece, founder of Colony Roofers, who recommends adding new insulation to your attic or filling in any areas where it’s starting to look sparse.
At their balmiest, attics can reach upwards of 150 degrees in the summer. Due to these unbearable temperatures, Josh McCormick, vice president of operations for Mr. Electric, recommends installing an attic ventilator fan, as it “evacuates the hot air that accumulates and draws air in from the outside.” With this new ventilation system installed in your home, you’ll find that less warm air makes its way into your bedroom—especially if it’s upstairs.
If you’re fortunate enough to have central air conditioning, McCormick recommends keeping your thermostat set to 78 degrees during the summertime.
Why so high, you ask? “Many homeowners don’t know that cranking down the thermostat to a super low temperature will not cool your home any faster,” he says. “It’s much like repeatedly pushing the button for an elevator.”
Filling insulation gaps in your attic isn’t the only way to keep the cool air from escaping your bedroom.
“Adding carpeting to your floor is an often overlooked yet easy way to add insulation to your home,” says Michael DiMartino, senior vice president of installations at Power Home Remodeling, who notes that this is a great option for renters who can’t necessarily re-insulate their space by other means.
“To avoid those summer-night sweats, you must stay away from synthetic materials and use a breathable natural material instead,” interior designer Bobby Berk told New York Magazine. His suggestion? Drape your bed in either linen, cotton, or percale sheets for a cooler feel.
If you find yourself tossing and turning thanks to unbearably boiling temperatures, try this trick, courtesy of the ancient Egyptians: Wet a sheet with cold water and squeeze out the excess so it’s not dripping wet. Lie on top of a dry towel and use the wet sheet as your blanket. This “Egyptian Method,” as described by SleepBetter, will keep you cool as you drift off effortlessly.
Just like you shouldn’t wear black when it’s 90 degrees outside, you should avoid decorating your bedroom with dark accessories during the summer months. Dark objects absorb more heat than lighter ones, so sticking to light accessories—especially on and around your bed—will ensure that your room doesn’t heat up as much during the day.
If you’re trying to cool down sans A/C, make sure you’re keeping your bedroom door open before you retire for the night. Doing so will increase the ventilation from one room to the next, ensuring that the air in your bedroom isn’t stagnant and unbearably hot.
Your dinner isn’t the only thing that your stove is heating up. Unfortunately, cooking on the stove or in the oven takes the temperature of your home up a notch, according to Northeastern energy company Great Eastern Energy. In the winter, this influx of heat is welcome; during the dog days of summer, it’s the last thing you want, so opt for some no-cook meals whenever possible—or treat yourself to takeout.