The warmth of the sun is alluring for many. However, while islands and other coastal locations with tropical weather have continued to gain popularity as expat destinations, they are not exactly paradise for everyone. Some of us just keep looking for effective ways to beat the heat, even though we’re thankful to be away from the cold.If you are one of those who can’t tolerate the combination of heat and humidity, there are a few things you can do to avoid breaking a sweat in spite of living in a warm climate. Given below are 15 easy but useful tips on how you can keep your cool in a hot country.
Try natural cooling
Switching on the air conditioning (AC) is definitely the most effective way to bring down the temperature in a room or a smaller area. However, it is also likely to increase your electricity bill to a great extent. Most people therefore don’t run their ACs for more than a couple of hours each day. Maximize the efficiency of your cooling unit by cleaning the filters regularly. Also, portable and window ACs are known to be a lot more effective than the split units.
While fans are not as effective as ACs, you can use a couple of them as supplements or alternatives. Place your box fans outside the window so that they push out the hot air. The ceiling fans should be adjusted so that the blades move counter-clockwise and pull the hot air up, instead of moving it around the room.
It is also a good idea to place a slab or shallow bowl of ice in front of a standing fan. The breeze picks up the cold water from the surface of the ice, creating a cool mist.
Make sure that you drink more than your usual intake of water during the summer months. The heat will seem more unbearable if you suffer from dehydration.
As the mercury level goes up, reaching for a chilled beer or an iced cocktail may seem very tempting. However, these beverages only bring about temporary relief from the heat and will do your body more harm than good. It is therefore important that you drink higher amounts of healthy beverages, which include coconut water, smoothies and fresh fruit or vegetable juices. Add a few mint leaves for better results.
It is best to sip on such liquids at regular intervals during the day. Try to have at least one full glass of water before you go to bed.
Many people, especially Westerners, prefer to shed some of their clothes when it gets too hot. However, exposing your bare skin to the sun isn’t the best way to keep the heat at bay. In the Middle Eastern countries, people actually stay cooler in spite of covering up! The trick is to choose clothing of the right material, color and fit to shelter your body from the hot sun.
Leave the satins, silks and polyesters for cooler climates; natural fibers like cotton are the safest for the summer, be it your clothes, bedding or undergarments. Opt for loose-fitting clothing, preferably in light, pastel colors.
Cool the sheets
Many of us have trouble dozing off when the weather is hot. This is because our body temperature gets lower when we fall asleep. People who don’t have air conditioners often find innovative ways to reduce the temperature in their rooms at night.
Place your bed sheet in a plastic bag and stick it in the refrigerator for a few hours (or freezer for 30 minutes or so), just before you plan to sleep. A cold sheet should definitely help you sleep better, at least for a couple of hours.
Again, this trick works best with cotton bed sheets. Summer isn’t a good time to bring out the satin or silk bedcovers.
Create cross ventilation
When executed in the right way, the art of cross ventilation can actually be a suitable replacement for your air conditioning unit. Moreover, it would cost you only a fraction of what the AC usually does and is a greener option.
Cool your home naturally by regulating the flow of air. For this, you will need to check the placement of the doors as well as windows and set up a couple of fans. Make sure that some air is brought in through an inlet (window), before it is carried through the space, where it can pick up the hot air and then escape through an outlet (another window).
Keeping your pulse points cold is an excellent way of reducing your overall body temperature. The simplest way to do this is by running your wrists under a cold tap for about 5 to 10 seconds every few hours. One of your main veins passes through this area and the cold water will help cool the blood that is circulating through your body.
If possible, apply a cold compress or an ice pack to some of your other pulse points too, like the neck, elbow, base of the throat and ankles. While it is fine to cool your pulse every 2 to 3 hours, make sure that you don’t apply the cold compress or ice for more than a few minutes.
Hit the shower
This is probably the oldest trick in the book when it comes to dealing with the heat. However, contrary to what most people believe, a cold shower isn’t as effective as tepid water. Cold water will definitely help you feel better immediately but once your shower is over, your body generates an additional amount of heat to compensate for the warmth it lost. Ideally, your water should be just below body temperature, especially if you are showering before bed.
Toweling off rigorously afterwards is also bound to increase your body temperature to some extent. Instead, pat your skin gently till you get rid of the excess water.
There is a common misconception that you should only apply a moisturizer on your skin during the winter months. However, your skin needs to get the same treatment in the summertime too! In fact, when the climate is hot, it is important to maintain the same or a better moisturizing regimen, especially if you spend an additional amount of time in an air conditioned environment.
It is therefore a good idea to replace your usual moisturizing lotion with a cooling aloe vera after-sun product. Apply this at least twice a day (morning and night), to lower the temperature of your skin. The perfect time to use a moisturizer is immediately after a shower.
Turn the lights low
Even the most environmentally friendly light bulbs give out a significant amount of heat and warm the surroundings up. It is therefore best to keep the lights turned off if not required, or switch to dim lights when it gets too hot. This not only includes incandescent light bulbs but also your TV and computer screens. While a single bulb or unit of light may not seem like a major heat risk, collectively they can make a difference.
This is also the case with all your electronic gadgets and other household appliances; almost all of them emit a lot of heat even when they are not in use! To reduce the overall temperature of your house (and save some energy in the process), pull the plugs for all electronic appliances out of their power sockets when they are not being used.
Did you know that your basement is probably 10ᵒ or so cooler than the rest of your house? This occurs because hot air rises up and the ground tends to remain much cooler than the ceiling. It is therefore a good idea to stay cool by spending more time in the lower part of the house, like the basement, rather than the attic or terrace.
If you have a multi-storey house, try to sleep on the ground floor or the basement instead or a higher floor. Even if you live in a single-storey home, moving your bed or mattress closer to the ground should help you feel cooler during the night.
Take a break from cooking
The summer often conjures images of picnics and barbecues. However, this isn’t the best time for you to whip up a piping hot casserole or a pot roast. Cooking for hours causes you to feel hot and generates more heat in the house. The climate is the perfect excuse you’ve been looking for to avoid the kitchen.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best foods when it comes to beating the heat and they require little or no cooking. If you need something more substantial, opt for a salad or a sandwich, which can be made without going anywhere near a stove. Lightly-cooked food items like stir-fries are also good for consumption during the summer months and they shouldn’t have you breaking out into a sweat.
Junk items and heavy meals are difficult to digest, regardless of the climate. Your body also produces more heat after you put away a huge amount of food. Instead, opt for light, small meals and eat at regular intervals, so that your body can easily metabolize everything you consume.
Almost no one fancies spicy food in the sweltering hot weather. However, chilies stimulate the heat receptors in your mouth and enhance circulation, which causes sweating; this in turn helps cool down your body.
Draw the curtains
One of the most effective ways to cut down the heat from sunrays in your home is by keeping the curtains drawn, especially during the peak sunlight hours. Unfortunately, this is also likely to restrict the flow of air into your home.
Before air conditioners became common, people used to cool their homes by hanging a wet sheet in front of a window, as it did not stop the outside air from entering the room. It is a well-known fact that evaporation causes cooling. The breeze blowing in from the window absorbs the moisture from the sheet and carries it across the place, thereby bringing down the temperature in the room.
Work out sensibly
If you find the summer heat hard to bear, you should avoid any strenuous activity that stimulates your body and increases its base temperature. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you cannot exercise. Try to work out at home or in an air conditioned gym. If you have to run or jog, choose the coolest time of the day to do so (early morning). Swimming is an excellent way to stay cool and fit at the same time.
Any excessive physical activity can make you feel hot. For example, people often fan themselves with their hands, not knowing that this act will only make the heat more unbearable in a while. The rush of air will cool your skin for a bit but it takes up a lot of your energy, which in turn will raise your body temperature, causing you to feel hot very soon. It is better to use a thin flexible object, so that you can put in less effort.
Practice deep breathing
There are many health benefits associated with yoga, and being able to maintain a lower body temperature is said to be one of them. Many people recommend a yoga-based breathing technique called Pranayama Sheetali, in which you have to roll your tongue to form a sort of tube, take slow breaths through your mouth, and exhale from the nose. Some experts believe that this technique simply allows the saliva in your mouth to cool the inhaled air before it enters the lungs.