How to Survive the Hot Summer Days Without the A/C

These clever, low-cost tricks will help you keep your cool when the weather's hot.

Breathe like a yogi

Outside Thermometer showing ninety degree hot summerdayCharte Photography/Shutterstock

Next time you feel overheated, do a few minutes of yogic breathing. “You can’t do yoga unless you take deep breaths,” says Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, of “Proper breathing is our bodies’ natural way of cooling down. Achieving a steady breathing rhythm can make us feel cooler.” Art of Living recommends you curl your tongue by pulling both sides upward toward the middle, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath, and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat five to ten times.

Spritz on some peppermint tea

Brew a pot of peppermint tea, then stick it in the fridge. Once it’s nice and cold, suggests pouring some into a spray bottle and misting yourself with it. The menthol in the tea has cooling properties and will give your skin a tingly feeling.

Switch in some LED lights

The inside of your home can get steamy on hot days. Another way to beat the heat is to reconsider your lighting. Switch in some LED bulbs. They’re known to produce less heat than regular light bulbs, Dr. Djordjevic says. The simple change can make a big difference if you’ve got lots of lamps and lights in your homes.

Create your own air conditioning

Freeze a couple of water bottles and place them in front of a floor or desk fan, and you’ll enjoy a much cooler breeze with your makeshift air-conditioner. A bowl of ice water will also do the trick, according to Apartment Therapy This is how to make your makeup last in the summer heat.

Eat some spicy food

If you’re already sweating, why would you want to sweat more? Professor of food science at Penn State University Luke LaBorde offers this answer: eating spicy food increases blood circulation and makes you sweat, so you’ll feel cooler as the sweat dries. Dr. Oz explains that the capsaicin in hot peppers encourages your body to sweat more without raising your body temperature.

Make your own ice packs

No ice packs in the freezer? Make your own. Take one or two cups of rice, place them inside a cotton sock, and pop it in the freezer. “After a few hours, you’ll have your own ice pack,” Dr. Djordjevic says. This is the real reason summer heat makes us so grumpy.

Use ice packs on pressure points

Placing something cold on your pressure points is another effective way of reducing heat. Pressure or pulse points are the sensitive areas on our bodies where you can feel the pulse: our neck, wrists, the area around our temple. “When you apply ice packs to pulse points, your brain quickly gets the signal that you’re cool and starts lowering body temperature,” Dr. Djordjevic says.

Apply aloe vera

You know aloe vera is one of the ways to naturally soothe sunburn. Well, its cooling properties also work to help you beat the heat. Just apply some aloe vera gel to your pulse points and your brain will get the message to lower your body temperature, Dr. Djordjevic says.

Sleep on ice-cold sheets

Chill your bed by folding sheets and pillowcases, placing them in plastic bags, and sticking them in the freezer for a few hours, Mother Nature Network recommends. You can also freeze your pajamas! Dr. Djordjevic says. Then make up the bed just before you go to sleep for sweet (and cool) dreams.

Chill your mattress

Put soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets; try under your legs, neck, or lower back for maximum comfort. Remember that ice pack you made? Real Simple also suggests freezing a cotton sock filled with rice, then slipping it between the sheets. The rice will hold a chill longer.

Get a buckwheat pillow

Your bed sheets aren’t made for every season and may be retaining unnecessary heat while you sleep, says Jamie Bacharach, a licensed acupuncturist for Maple Holistics. Switch your regular pillow for a buckwheat pillow that won’t hold on to your body heat and will keep you cool through the night. 

Take a cool shower

When all else fails, take frequent cool showers to keep your body temperature down and rinse off the sweat.

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