2. Better yet, invest in blackout curtains. Blackout curtains block sunlight, naturally insulating the rooms in which they're installed. Consumer Reports recommends neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backings to reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
3. Be smart about your doors.
Closing off unused rooms will prevent cool air from permeating these areas during the hottest part of the day. You'll want to capitalize on the cooler night hours, too, letting air flow naturally through your home.
4. Hack a fan instead of turning on the A.C. Not even an air conditioner can give off a faux sea breeze, but this simple trick can. Fill a mixing bowl with ice (or something equally cold, like an ice pack), and position it at an angle in front of a large fan so the air whips off the ice in an extra-chilled, extra-misty state. Trust us: It's magic.
5. Swap your sheets. Not only does seasonally switching your bedding freshen up a room, but it's also a great way to keep cool. While textiles like flannel sheets and fleece blankets are fantastic for insulation, cotton is a smarter move this time of year as it breathes easier and stays cooler. As an added bonus, buy yourself a buckwheat pillow or two. Because buckwheat hulls have a naturally occurring air space between them, they won't hold on to your body heat like conventional pillows, even when packed together in a pillow case.
6. Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise. You may not realize that your ceiling fan needs to be adjusted seasonally. Set to run counter-clockwise in the summer at a higher speed, the fan's airflow will create a wind-chill breeze effect that will make you and your guests feel cooler.
7. Focus on the temperature in your body, not the house. If your ancestors survived without air conditioning, so can you. From sipping tasty iced drinks to applying a cold cloth to strong-pulsed areas like your neck and wrists, cooling yourself from the inside out is not a bad idea. Other tricks include being smart about your clothing choices and telling your partner you won't be cuddling until the leaves start changing color. Also try keeping a bowl of cool water by your bed and dipping your feet if you feel warm in the middle of the night.
8. Turn on your bathroom fans. Or the exhaust fan in your kitchen, for that matter. Both pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your house or apartment.
9. Heat-proof your bed. Go straight to the source, and put a cool pillow under your head while you sleep. For feet, fill a water bottle, and put it in the freezer before placing it at the foot of your bed. And it sounds strange, but slightly dampening your sheets or popping them in the freezer before bedtime will majorly help you chill out.
10. Sleep low. Heat rises, so hit the downstairs couch or basement, or put your mattress on the floor if the air feels cooler down there.
11. Let the night air in. During summer months, temperatures may drop during the night. If this is the case where you live, make the most of these refreshing hours by cracking the windows before you go to bed. You can even create a wind tunnel by strategically setting up your fans to force the perfect cross breeze. Just be sure to close the windows and blinds before things get too hot in the morning.
12. Hack your windows. To create a cooling pressure current, open the top section of windows on the downwind side of your house, and open the bottom section of windows on the upwind side. Also consider facing a box fan out one window to push hot air out, and try wetting a sheet then hanging it in front of a second open window like a curtain for a chill-infused breeze.
13. Ditch the incandescent lights. If you ever needed motivation to make the switch to CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps, this is it. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy in the heat they emit, so tossing them to the curb will make a small difference in cooling your home while lowering your electric bill.
14. Start grilling. It's obvious, but we're going to say it anyway: Using your oven or stove in the summer will make your house hotter. If it already feels like 100 degrees in your home, the last thing you want to do is turn on a 400-degree oven. Besides, who doesn't want to get more mileage out of their outdoor furniture and seasonal accessories?
15. Make a few long-term improvements. If you're really, really committed to the whole no-AC thing, you can make a couple changes to your home that will keep it cooler for seasons to come. Insulated window films, for example, are a smart purchase as they work similarly to blinds. And additions like awnings and planting trees or vines near light-facing windows will shield your home from the sun's rays, reduce the amount of heat your home absorbs and make your investment even more worthwhile.
Foods to Eat During the Heat
Proper hydration is extremely important for your health. In fact, not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headaches, skin problems, muscle cramps, low blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. What’s more, prolonged dehydration can lead to serious complications like organ failure. Experts generally recommend drinking several glasses of water per day to meet your hydration needs. But while drinking water is very important, you can also get it from foods. There are many healthy foods that can contribute a large amount of water to your diet.
Watermelon Water content: 92%
Watermelon is very healthy and one of the most hydrating foods you can eat. A 1-cup (154-gram) serving contains over a half cup (118 ml) of water, in addition to some fiber and several important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium. It is also quite low in calories, providing only 46 calories per cup. Because of their high-water content, watermelons have very low calorie density. That means that a relatively large portion of watermelon contains very few calories. Foods with low calorie densities have been shown to help with weight loss by promoting fullness and reducing appetite. Furthermore, watermelon is rich in powerful antioxidants, including lycopene. This compound has been studied for its ability to reduce oxidative damage to cells, which has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. You can add watermelon to your diet by consuming it as a refreshing snack or side dish. It’s also commonly used to make salads.
Strawberries Water content: 91%
Strawberries have a high-water content, making them a very hydrating food. Because about 91% of strawberries’ weight comes from water, eating them will contribute to your daily water intake. Furthermore, strawberries provide lots of fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate and manganese. Eating strawberries on a regular basis has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help protect against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer. It is easy to include strawberries in your diet by blending them into smoothies or incorporating them into salads. They also make for a unique addition to sandwiches and wraps.
Cantaloupe Water content: 90%
Cantaloupe is a melon that’s extremely nutritious and may boost your health in several ways. One cup (177 grams) of cantaloupe is composed of about 90% water and delivers more than a half cup (118 ml) of water per serving. One cup of cantaloupe also contains 2 grams of fiber, which works together with water to promote fullness and reduce your appetite. Additionally, cantaloupe is rich in vitamin A, providing 120% of your daily needs in a 1-cup (177-gram) serving. Studies have shown that vitamin A may boost immune health by protecting against infection. You can consume cantaloupe plain or add it to salads, smoothies, yogurt or salsa. It also makes a great side at breakfast.
Skim Milk Water content: 91%
Skim milk is very nutritious. It’s made up of mostly water and provides a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus and potassium. Not only does milk help with overall hydration, but it may also help you rehydrate after strenuous exercise. A few studies have shown that low-fat milk helped people stay hydrated after a workout, compared to sports drinks or plain water. This is partly due to milk’s electrolytes and protein content, which may help replace body fluid losses. Because milk is widely available and quite cheap, it’s easy to incorporate into your diet.
Cucumbers Water content: 95%
Cucumbers are another healthy and hydrating food to include in your diet. They are made up almost entirely of water and provide a small amount of some nutrients, such as vitamin K, potassium and magnesium. Compared to other water-rich vegetables, cucumbers are one of the lowest in calories. There are only 8 calories in a half-cup (52-gram) serving, and their water content makes them very refreshing. You can eat a relatively large portion of cucumbers without adding a significant number of calories to your diet, which is helpful for maintaining your weight. It’s easy to incorporate cucumbers into your diet. They are commonly added to salads and sandwiches, but they can also be included in cooked dishes like stir-fries and soups.
Lettuce Water content: 96%
Lettuce has several health-promoting properties. One cup (72 grams) of lettuce provides more than a quarter cup (59 ml) of water, in addition to 1 gram of fiber. It also provides 5% of your daily needs for folate. Folate is important for pregnant women, as it can help prevent neural tube birth defects. Additionally, lettuce is high in vitamins K and A, both of which have been studied for their roles in keeping your bones and immune system healthy. Furthermore, the combination of water and fiber in lettuce makes it very filling for a low number of calories. There are only 10 calories in a 1-cup (72-gram) serving. You can easily add lettuce to your diet by using it to make salads. Additionally, you can use it as a “bun” for burgers or wrap instead of a tortilla to substitute for less-hydrating grains.
Broths and Soups Water content: 92%
Broths and soups are usually water-based and have the potential to be very hydrating and nutritious. For example, 1 cup (240 grams) of chicken broth is made almost entirely of water, which contributes a decent amount to your daily hydration needs. Consuming water-rich foods like broths and soups regularly may also promote weight loss due to their low-calorie content. Many studies have found that those who consume soup before the main course of a meal eat fewer calories and therefore end up with a lower daily calorie intake. In one study, participants who ate two servings of low-calorie soups per day ended up losing 50% more weight than those who consumed the same number of calories from snack foods. You can significantly increase the nutrition content of broths and soups by adding lots of vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Zucchini Water content: 94%
Zucchini is a nutritious vegetable that may provide several health benefits. A 1-cup (124-gram) serving of chopped zucchini contains more than 90% water and provides 1 gram of fiber. Both these components are great for keeping you full. And because of its high-water content, zucchini is low in calories by volume, with only 20 calories in 1 cup (124 grams). Eating zucchini will contribute several nutrients to your diet, especially vitamin C, since 1 cup (124 grams) of it contains 35% of your daily needs. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system and may help protect against several diseases. To include zucchini in your diet, eat it on its own as a side dish or add it to soups, salads and stir-fries. You can also cut it into strips to create “noodles” that you can use as an alternative to regular pasta.
Celery Water content: 95%
Celery is a very healthy and hydrating food to include in your diet. It’s made mostly of water, providing close to a half cup (118 ml) of it in a 1-cup serving. This contributes to its low-calorie content of just 16 calories per cup. Like other water-rich vegetables, celery may be a beneficial weight loss food due to its high-water content and low number of calories. In addition, celery contains some fiber and lots of important nutrients. It’s particularly high in vitamin K and potassium, which may protect against heart disease, certain types of cancer and bone-related diseases like osteoporosis. It’s quite simple to incorporate celery into your diet, as it can be eaten raw or cooked. You can add it to soups and salads, or eat celery sticks along with a healthy dip such as hummus or Greek yogurt.
Hope you all stay cool!