Our bedroom has no air conditioning. It’s got a ceiling fan and a radiator, so most of the time this isn’t a big deal. But every now and then during the summer, it gets so hot in there (especially if we’ve been sparing in our use of the living room a/c unit) that it’s almost impossible to sleep.
We could buy a second unit, but we’d have to pay $100/month more in our rent since the apartment building pays our electric bill. So we soldier on and do the best we can.
Here are some tips based on how we manage to sleep in a room with no a/c:
Tip #1: Don’t. Sleep in the room with the a/c instead. Our enterprising friends actually have an air mattress which serves as their alternative bed when it’s just too hot. They set it up in the living room and sleep quite comfortably.
Perhaps we should look into that an air mattress is much cheaper than an a/c unit (plus power!). For now, it’s the couches or the floor. I have a hard time falling asleep, so I’m not very good at doing it somewhere other than my bed. But Micah takes to it like a baby. So some nights I’ll hear him carrying his pillow out to the living room and that’s the last I see until morning.
Tip #2: Use fans (and channel the air). We have a nice ceiling fan above our bed. If we didn’t, we’d definitely need a large floor fan. A floor fan might not be bad anyway.
Micah also sets up air channels sometimes, by arranging blankets on furniture in an attempt to direct the air into our room. I’m not sure if this works, but I do know a friend in a house with no a/c who would set up a sheet above her window-fan to make the air blow directly on her bed.
Tip #3: If you’re wearing a top, make sure it’s sleeveless. I’ve done some experimenting and it appears that spaghetti-straps are the way to go. Even a very thin t-shirt will leave you much warmer than a thicker one that covers only a couple millimeters of your shoulder. Sleeveless (but shoulder-covering) is ok, but not optimal.
It can make a huge difference.
If you’re a guy, you can just go shirtless, but girls may not feel that comfortable doing it. So avoid the sleeves if you have to wear a top.
Tip #4: Think ahead, cool it down. One of our biggest problems is not airing out the room ahead of time. If you haven’t been in there all day, it’s probably a good idea to start the ceiling fan an hour ahead of time. Maybe even open the windows if the temperature outside is cooler than what’s built up during the day.
Tip #5: Take as much off as you can without discomfort. Some people can take it all off, others feel weird without some clothes. If you’re ok with disrobing in theory but it doesn’t feel right when you try it, here’s a tip I learned during the 2003 European heat wave (while in un-air-conditioned hotels in Italy):
Take as much off as you can and use a thin sheet. This will keep fans from blowing directly on your skin. It also helps you to feel covered. And the sheet (I believe ours are a very light cotton-poly) may be lighter than the shirt/shorts you were wearing.
Bonus tip: If you’re wearing socks, take them off! Socks are my secret weapon for staying warm in bed in the winter. They’re also death to my summer sleep.
Living without a/c isn’t the most pleasant experience, but we’ve found ways to cope. Do you have a/c in your bedroom? Have you always? I’d love to hear other tips that might help us get more sleep this summer.