Thursday, July 20, 2006

Beating the heat while you sleep

Last night was the first night in I don't know how long that it wasn't beastly hot.

I'm one of those people--not all that rare in New England--who doesn't have air conditioning, so believe me, these things get my attention.

I live in an area where it doesn't get too hot too often. But every summer there are always a number of sweltering days and nights, although that number varies widely from year to year. My bedroom is distinguished by casement windows and something called awning windows (I had to look the term up to get it right), neither of which are particularly simpatico to the installment of an air conditioner. I've never gotten around to cutting a hole in the wall for one, either.

And really, most of the time there's no need. I have windows on three sides of the bedroom, so I not only have cross-ventilation, I have double-cross ventilation, as well as a large ceiling fan. In fact, when the windows are open on all three sides and it's a bit breezy outside, I find I don't have to sweep the floor--the dust just piles up of its own accord in whatever corner the wind happens to be blowing towards. Better than a Roomba.

But this past week there was no breeze to be had, except for the steamy air, weakly stirred by the feeble ceiling fan. Sweating was continual, perpetual, and copious (yes, I know; too much information).

I hear it's been that way throughout much of the country. So, for those of you who, like me, might be air conditioner-challenged, here are some tips for how to keep cool without AC on a hot summer night.

Absent among the suggestions is a traditional New England fixture, the sleeping porch. You can see them on big old houses here. They're usually attached to the second floor and adjacent to the bedrooms there, screened on all sides to let in the cooler night air and keep out the ubiquitous mosquitoes. But, since most of us lack sleeping porches, the fan and the ice cubes and the wet sheet and the wet socks might just do the trick.

I hope you sleep well tonight, and every night.

Powered by Blogger