- On Thursday, the US National Weather Service issued a national advisory warning that dangerous heat and humidity is expected across the country.
If you don’t have air conditioning, you’re already probably quite familiar with cooling techniques like taking cold showers.
More unusual (and free) strategies like putting your sheets in the freezer before bed, avoiding high-protein meals, and even certain breathing exercises can make opressive heat more bearable.
July 2019 is on track to become the hottest month recorded on earth. In some parts of the US, heat and humidity levels will be so high in the next few days the U.S. National Weather Service has issued an advisory warning that it could get dangerous. Conditions like heat stroke can even become a potentially deadly medical emergency.
Fans, cold showers, and visits to generously air-conditioned movie theatres and museums can provide a brief respite from the heat, but there are plenty of other strategies that can make a heat wave more bearable (and safe) – even if you don’t have air-conditioning at home.
INSIDER rounded up some of the more unusual that won’t cost you a dime.
Freezing your sheets can promote sleep on hot nights.
Sleeping during a heat wave comes with its own set of challenges (and potential solutions) since “our bodies sleep best in cool temperatures,” said Dr. Edo Paz, an internist and cardiologist with K Health, a digital health care company. Indeed, the ideal bedroom temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
But when that’s not possible, popping your sheets in the freezer for an hour or two before bed can keep your linens cool as you fall asleep, Paz told INSIDER.
Avoiding booze and caffeine can cool you down.
Iced coffees in the morning and ice cold beers in the evening may sound like enjoyable heat-busters, but that joy will be fleeting. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which can cause you too lose too many fluids and lead to dehydration.
“During a heat wave, your body becomes more dehydrated, so drinking plenty of fluids is important, and water is the best choice,” Paz said.
Dunking your arms in cold water can lower your body temperature.
While a fun-blown ice bath would be ideal, a more practical – and still effective – alternative is a simple forearm bath.
A 2013 review found that dunking arms up to the elbow in cool water drops body temperature more than dunking just your hands or just your feet. A study of this technique during Army training also found that it reduced the severity of heat illnesses during arduous work days, INSIDER previously reported.
Put your salad in a blender for a cooling meal.
Keto devotees: It’s time for a cheat week. High-protein and high-fat meals require your body to use a lot of energy (read: heat) to break down.
It’s better to opt for easy-to-digest foods that don’t require cooking, like this raw cream of corn soup or a gazpacho, clinical nutritionist Natalia Rose told INSIDER. You can even take a salad, throw it in a blender, and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes, she said.
“Alkaline foods like raw vegetable soups and freshly extracted raw vegetable juice are instantly cooling to the body,” Rose said.
You may be able to breathe yourself cool with a certain technique.
“The cooling breath” is an Eastern medicine technique believed to release excess heat in the body, according to the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. The practice involves inhaling through a curled tongue and exhaling through the nose for up to about five minutes.
“This really works – I used it through two summer pregnancies and always teach it during heat waves,” Shiya Mangel Furstenau, a yoga teacher, told INSIDER.
While it’s unclear from a Western medicine perspective why the practice may work, a 2017 study found that the practice helped to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Make your own ‘air conditioner.’
If you have a fan and an ice maker, you can have an air-conditioner. Simply put the fan in front of a bowl of ice. “As the ice melts, the fan’s breeze distributes the water vapour, giving you a nice waft of cool air,” INSIDER previously reported.