It’s hard to stay cool during a heat wave — especially if you don’t have an air conditioner. Even with the AC on, the heat gets to us and can actually be dangerous if you don’t stay properly hydrated. Here are some unusual hacks that will keep things cool and breezy for you all summer long.
1. Sleep under a slightly damp sheet or towel
It also works if you wear a damp t-shirt to bed. The evaporation of the cloth’s water keeps you cool — especially if you have a fan that can run throughout the night as well. When the skin comes in contact with cold, especially in areas with a high concentration of blood vessels near the skin, it helps transfer heat out of your body.
2. Put a bowl of ice in front of your fan
This DIY air conditioner hack can save you hundreds on your electricity bill, and is good to know in case your AC ever breaks down. Just throw ice cubes into a metal bowl (or freeze water directly in it) and place it in front of a running fan set on high. Try to tilt either the bowl or the fan so that air directly flowers on the icy surface, making the air blowing out even cooler.
3. Eat spicy foods
This doesn’t sound sensible, but surprisingly, hot foods such as jalapeño, habanero, and cayenne peppers have a specific kind of heat that comes from a chemical called capsaicin. While capsaicin is an irritant in humans that causes us to sweat, this sweating mechanism actually cools us down. When you don’t sweat in the heat — that’s when you’re in serious trouble.
4. Reduce intake of protein and salty foods
Both of these things create metabolic heat when they’re digested, and end up reducing your body’s water content. To remedy this, eat more veggies and fruits throughout the day, and eat tinier meals more frequently throughout the day.
5. Create an ice pack out of a hat
Sure, this may make you look like a crazy person if you walk around doing your errands like this, but for a quick fix to sweltering heat, strap a cold compress to your head. It can also head reduce the likelihood of getting a headache from the heat. You can also throw some wet dish towels in your freezer, coiling them into a C which you can place around your head or neck.
6. Turn the blades on your ceiling fan
The blades on a ceiling fan have a slight tilt, which pushes air upwards or downwards. In winter, you should keep the blades turning clockwise, but in summer, you should switch that direction to counter clockwise which will push wind currents into the room below.
7. Put moisturizer, sunscreen and body products in the fridge
Sometimes, putting moisturizer and products on in the heat can make you feel sticky and even hotter. Instead, rub some cold moisturizer or cream on your skin for instant relief on a hot day. You might even want to do this all year long, since beauty products in the fridge means reduced puffiness and rosacea. Just don’t do it with oil-based products. For maximum cooling, pop some aloe vera in the fridge.
8. Drink a hot cup of tea or coffee
If you can tolerate it — we know it’s tempting to want to chug iced tea or coffee when the degrees just keep climbing up there — drinking a hot cup of tea or water can help cool you down. When you take in the hot liquid, it increases the amount you sweat. Because the drink is hotter than the temperature of your body, the amount that your sweaty is increased helps to cool you down.
9. Freeze a bottle of water in the fridge
It will create an iceberg in the center that slowly melts throughout the day, making sure that your bottle of water always stays ice-cold and never turns warm. Now that’s what we call refreshing!
10. Use an umbrella
You know that feeling of being on a street where there’s absolutely no shade to be found, making you feel like you’re walking through the Sahara desert? We have a solution. If you only think that umbrellas are for rain, you’re missing out on a major life hack. In fact, umbrellas are perfect for summer strolls, since they provide shade when there isn’t any.
11. Have a water fight or run through the sprinkler
Who said that cooling down can’t be fun? Turn it into a game and head to your neighborhood sprinkler (even better if your backyard has one) or splash pad. You can also have a good ol’ fashioned water fight with your loved ones to get some relief from the balmy weather.