It’s official.

The weather in Britain is still hot.

But since we’ve been experiencing higher temperatures, I’ve made a few observations.

  • Most daily tasks – including work, exercise and cooking – mean slowly slipping into a heat-induced delirium
  • Turning a deep shade of pink just from a quick visit to the shops is perfectly normal
  • You can’t get through the day without someone informing you that it’s hot outside
  • People are still taking a coat so that they can survive the industrial scale air conditioning at work
  • Hoovering is out of the question

And even though the weather is simply beautiful, the lack of sleep and relentless humidity is starting to make us all feel a little bit frazzled.

To combat this, I have been employing a few techniques to try and give myself a little respite.

Things like: testing how long I can withstand a freezing-cold shower without risking heart failure; swapping out my evening run with a session of sitting very still; and wafting around the freezer aisle at the supermarket – have all been topping the list.

But after a night of zero sleep and desperation in the humidity that is my bedroom (“You’ll get the morning sun,” said the landlord, “Oh isn’t that wonderful,” I said…) I decided to take action.

And after trying and testing these heat-combatting techniques, I’d like to take this opportunity to pass on my findings, so that you too can enjoy much cooler evenings at home.

How to survive the hot summer nights

image of some home made berry ice creams

  1. Go extreme – blood flows closer to the surface of your skin around your wrists, hands and feet. So, running cold water over your extremities like this is a quick and easy way to lower your body temperature – making the heat more bearable and it easier to get to sleep.
  2. Bag it up – sandwich bags are your friend this summer. Get the ones with zipper tops and fill them with either water or rice. Lay them flat in the freezer and you have instant ice packs which can be re-used.
  3. Start on the inside – it sounds obvious but stocking up your fridge with lots of cold drinks will really help you stay cool in the heat. Fresh juices are great with breakfast and don’t forget you can put water bottles in the freezer to help you stay cool at night – just remember to only fill them three-quarters of the way full so they don’t crack.
  4. DIY air conditioning – you may have a fan at home but when the air is already so warm, you might has well be sat in front of a hairdryer. To help stay cool in the summer, put a bowl of ice in front of your fan so that it blows cold air at you instead – genius!
  5. Gel cooling pillows – large, gel ice packs that you can slip inside your pillow case and lie on for a cool night’s sleep. They’re amazing and super versatile. Sit, lie or stand on them to help take the heat away from your body.
  6. Good korma – eating spicy food is not just a great way to explore new dishes but hot food will help you sweat which is your body’s natural way of cooling down. So, if you don’t fancy that after-work hill run, grab a jar of jalfrezi and get on it with the curry!
  7. It’s all about the thread count – it’s easy to forget the range of bedding available. I for one have been sticking it out with my winter duvet. However, making sure you have a summer blanket along with some cotton sheets is a much better approach to surviving those stuffy summer nights.
  8. Lying under a wet towel – it sounds strange but this is actually a great tip for cooling off while you’re trying to get to sleep. Soak a towel with cold water and then wring it out. Lay it across your torso and allow the heat to evaporate away from your body as you drift off. You can also try this trick with a sheet or some pillow cases.
  9. Breezy does it – one of the worst things about being at home in the summer is having really warm, still air around you. Create a through breeze by opening all the windows in your house and keeping the doors propped open. That way you can create a breeze going through the house, refreshing the hot, still air.
  10. Turn off your gadgets – TVs, tablets, consoles, phones, laptops – we have so many devices in our homes which all produce heat when they’re plugged in. Cool off – and save on your electricity bill too – by switching off some of your appliances. That way, you have less heat in the rooms making it easier to cool down.
  11. Cold showers – there are lots of benefits to cold showers – not just helping us feel better in the heat! They’re not only great for our hair and skin, but they can boost our mood, ease stress and make us feel more alert too. Try jumping in and out of a cold shower regularly while at home to help you cool down.
  12. Go dark – blackout curtains aren’t black – they’re just brilliant at keeping out the light – and heat – so your room stays cooler. Brilliant for summer and great for winter too as they help to keep your heat in! Definitely a worthwhile investment.
  13. Get low – heat rises but as most of us have our bedrooms upstairs, it can mean we’re trying to sleep in the warmest parts of our homes. Switch it up on those really hot nights and sleep downstairs for a cooler night’s rest. Either that or try putting your mattress on the floor to try and shake off that heat.
  14. Going green – cooking undoubtedly makes us hot and eating hot food makes us hot too. Not only that, but even after dinner, the oven is still giving off lots of heat. To help, swap out some of your hot dinners with salads, cold pastas and meals based around anything from breads to dips, cheese and potato salads. Or, if you fancy something a bit different, how about opting for sushi instead?
  15. Sheets of ice – hanging a thin, wet sheet up over your window can help cool the air coming into your room. If there’s no breeze, you can create one by opening the windows around your home and leaving the doors open – see number 9 above.
  16. Turn off the lights – a lot of lights can give out more heat than they do light! Switching them off and having cool, dark rooms can really help lower the temperatures.
  17. Stock up on the good stuff – ice cream is great for helping you cool down and it’s also a fantastic, summer treat. Keep your freezer stocked up with ice lollies too as they really help cool you down from the inside. Not in the mood for sweet things? Make lots of ice cubes so you can have them in the evening as well as add them to all your drinks to stay cool.
  18. Air dry – tumble dryers give out so much heat when they’re on. Avoid that build up of hot air by drying your clothes naturally outside. It’ll be better for the environment too!
  19. Mist up – Fill a water mister and place it in the fridge so you can cool off whenever you need. These are great for night time too as they just help your body lose its heat more quickly. You can pick them up easily from pharmacies or hardware stores if you fancy something a bit more industrial!
  20. Pamper yourself – there are lots of lovely treatments available that will help you feel refreshed – perfect for setting you up for a great night’s sleep. Cooling face gels and masks, soothing moisturisers and balms and cooling eye masks too. And if you don’t fancy the products, cucumber is great for de-puffing as well as cooling your skin. Place a couple of slices straight from the fridge onto your eyes and relax as you cool off and unwind.

And there you have it! Plenty of tips and tricks for staying cool during those long, summer nights.

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