Photo by Salt Water New England

Friday, March 25, 2022

Sleeping in a Hot Upstairs?

 A reader question:

I love summer.  I love having the kids around and tennis and the general low-key tempo.  However, our upstairs gets very warm during the day (it is a seasonal house) and it makes sleeping very sticky.  How do other readers deal with hot sleeping weather other than the air conditioning?

 

33 comments:

  1. A fan, open windows, and prayers for a breeze!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed! Additionally, two coolers. One for libations and the other filled with ice. Ice filled for two reasons, first one for stated libations, the second for cheap A/C service. Years ago I taught down in Guatemala we often used an open ice chest and fan to “cool” our living space. We nick-named this setup the “Guatemala Siberian”

      Delete
  2. When we were kids our house got roasting hot upstairs. My parents didn’t believe children needed air conditioning… no I’m not bitter!!! Lol. Anyway, a big box fan in an upstairs window blowing out the window in the evening was the best, and only, option.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You might be fortunate enough to live in a northern state; New England, Upstate NY, Great Lakes etc..
    A house fan can work for you. Open the windows after dark as the outside air cools down. Turn on the fan, located usually at a high point at the entrance to, or near the attic. In our area, even being in southern New England, nightly summer temps rarely exceed 70. The fan circulates through the house the cool air which it draws through the open windows. The fan pushes out the daytime heat through your attic. Your home is not cooked chemically (as with A/C, read freon). It’s cooled with fresh nighttime air. All you pay is the electric to run the fan.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In addition to fans (ceiling and otherwise) and open windows, light cotton bedding and pyjamas - I'm fond of the "sleeveless nightie" from The Sleep Shirt for hot summer weather. And a tall glass of cool water bedside!

    ReplyDelete
  5. When I was growing up, fans, fans, and more fans and it was still miserable.

    Now we have air conditioning. Maybe it is my age or maybe it is global warming but the one one tow days of hot and humid of my childhood memories are several one weeks stretches each summer now.

    ReplyDelete
  6. On a side note, I really miss the hot summer days always following by a cooling thunderstorm. Loved opening the windows afterwards and feeling the fresh breeze. Doesn't happen much now. But...fans! One ceiling fan and one oscillating fan. 100% cotton nightgown or pj's.

    ReplyDelete
  7. No way do we open windows on warm, humid, sticky summer nights here in PA! Ceiling fans and ac. PA

    ReplyDelete
  8. I experienced a similar plight. It was made worse by the fact that my partner gets dried out if air or a fan is on. For years I resorted to sleeping on the floor or a downstairs couch.

    About a year ago I discovered, and ordered, an Ooler. It’s a mat one can slip under their sheets, and which acts as an air conditioner for that one spot. It literally changed my life; while expensive, it also may have been the best purchase I made all year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Eric! My nephew is super hot natured and has trouble sleeping in hot weather, AC or no AC. I told my sister about your "Ooler" remedy and now she's going to buy one for my nephew. Grazie!

      Delete
  9. I grew up in a house without air conditioning. As kids, we spent the entire summer sleeping on the screened in porch. I still yearn for that. However, my parents did eventually get air conditioning installed so the grand children have never had that wonderful experience of waking up with the sun on that porch.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I grew up in Jamaica in the 70s: no a/c, open windows, cotton pjs, mosquito nets or coils so you didn't get bitten all night (spoiler alert: you still did.)

    Since age 11 I've lived in Florida and/or Saudi Arabia: a/c is a must-have, although it is possible to live with open windows for a few weeks in January in both places until the pollen and/or dust storms make it impossible to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  11. If no AC, the classic ceiling fan! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I grew up in the Boston area, with hot, humid summers (though not like the tropics admittedly). The house had radiators (so no chance for a/c) and casement-style windows (so no window-unit a/c either). The latter did NOT catch breezes.

    Second, keep in mind that on a hot and humid night, the outside air is also hot and humid — and so what if it's a few degrees cooler than the inside? You're still glued to the sheets.

    God bless Willis Carrier (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Carrier).

    ReplyDelete
  13. Had an attic fan growing up. No AC until later. Elevated stand Vornado Fan works well. Have several. Great white noise for sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I grew up in a rowhouse in Philadelphia. On really hot nights my father slept outside on the stoop.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Northern New England as a child, no A/C. Box fans in the windows to create some air flow. Ceiling fans would probably have been an improvement.

    DC metro now, we appreciate A/C. A lot.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ceiling fans with large paddles work well circulating night air. Alternatively, consider a heat pump for cooling. They are quiet, energy efficient, reasonably priced and install quickly. (Heat pumps can heat and cool if you choose the unit with both features.)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree - I have a summer beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey, everything original down to the stove and of course - with no air conditioning where I summered mostly since childhood. I do not like New Jersey summers which is why we now summer in the Dutch Frisian Islands - where air conditioning does not exist.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I give thanks for Willis Carrier every summer. Spoiler alert - it gets pretty hot in northern New England. Our full time residence is an old summer cottage and we have A/C - not central, but a heat pump for the downstairs, a free standing that exhausts through the window in the master and window units for the other upstairs bedrooms.

    Our vacation place in NH has a in-the-wall unit that cools the whole thing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is a solution I used to use on only the most sweltering nights back when I lived in apartments without air conditioning: I would take the flat bed sheet, soak it in cold water in the tub, wring it out until it was just a little damp, and then sleep under it. By morning it was completely dry, and it made for a cooler night's sleep. When I moved somewhere that had a washing machine, I washed the sheet on cold and ran the spin cycle, which worked better and took a lot less effort on my part. I only did this a few times, but it did the trick and was surprisingly more comfortable than one might think.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Another trick to the box window fan blowing out. Start it at sunset, but the next day, when the heat starts, close windows and drapes to hold the cool air in as long as possible. My parents now departed kept their Southern home w/ no AC fairly cool in the summer by following the above practice.I do not understand the comments above about ceiling fans. The fan has to blow the hot air out of the house, not circulate it around. But if you use a ceiling fan, be sure of the direction of it. Some blow up, others blow down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shutting up the house during the heat of the day does help. Our summer cottage gets full western sun and pulling the cellular shades and shutting the windows the day helps keep the house cool enough that a window unit keeps us comfortable at night.

      Delete
    2. This is what they do in Italy as well. In the afternoons all blinds, shutters, etc. are closed to keep out the sun and heat.

      Delete
  21. I echo the fan and open window recommendations. For true luxury, see also cold showers and an icepack on the most convenient artery when retiring for the night.

    ReplyDelete
  22. If you use a damp sheet, try placing a very small, quiet fan at the foot of the bed and put it on low. That small breeze works wonders to keep the sheet cool all night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or have a ceiling fan above the bed running on low, which is what we do (minus the wet sheets part). The fan runs year-round too because we're used to sleeping in a breeze!

      Delete
  23. If you don't want to install central air, an attic fan would be the next best option.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I live by the ocean in Maine, no AC, but fans buzz in the summer. I'm brand loyal to Vornado. They really move the air.

    I sleep under a down comforter year-round and ironically sweat more in the winter than in the summer. The down doesn't heat you up like an electric blanket but rather insulates your body so it's always body temp. Relative to the temp in the room, you feel cooler, like drinking hot bevvies on a hot day to stay cool.

    On really hot nights (@90 degrees) I put my pillow in the freezer a few hours before bedtime. And I elevate my feet before dozing off since my legs get hot.

    ReplyDelete
  25. We grew up with miserable Summer heat, windows open all night with mosquitoes and old fans. We learned years ago in China about ductless A/C units that cool one room or open space quite well at a lower cost. Ductless air conditioners circulate indoor air only, create no exhaust fumes so require no venting to the outdoors.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I live on the coast of Maine and the summers just get hotter and hotter. In the late spring, the window awnings get opened up which blocks out the sun's rays on the south-facing windows. On the hottest days, I will close all the curtains and start up the fans( I like the cheap box fans from Walgreens and they work great). In the day, the fans face *out*, blowing any hot air back outside. At night, this is reversed with the fans blowing in the cooler air. I head up to the widows walk and open up those windows. Since hot air rises, I can release the hot air that way and it works well. If the ocean breeze is strong, I just open up all the windows and enjoy.
    To make the bedroom seem cooler, I switch over to an all-white bed. The sheets are 100% linen and they are great at keeping one somewhat comfy. Usually, the top linen sheet is all you'll need on those sweltering nights. Old quilts and lightweight wool blankets are kept nearby just in case. If all else fails, a nightcap cocktail and a xanax will do the trick ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Attic and box fans till I was 29.

    ReplyDelete