Top 10 Ways to Beat the Heat

Now that we’re in the middle of summer and cooler days still seem so far off, trying to keep cool is on everyone’s mind. Often, the heat can make people crazy, irritable, or depressed, so getting cool and staying cool is important for more than physical reasons. It can help us keep cool heads, as well. With that in mind, here are 10 ways to combat the summer heat.

1. Hide From The Source – One way to keep cool that won’t break the bank is to simply keep the sun’s rays from baking your home. Most people already own window shades or venetian blinds, so draw them and keep them closed during daylight hours. By blocking the sun, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a household can reduce 45% of the interior heat in this way.

2. Learn From The Elephants – An elephant expert at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, John Lehnhardt says the oversized mammals regulate their body temperature by dowsing themselves with cool water. Similarly, people can keep a spray bottle filled with water in the refrigerator. When it gets too hot, spray yourself.
Hint: spraying your wrists will cool off the blood flowing through your veins.

3. Limit Computer Use – We all know that computers can overheat, causing that little fan to go into overdrive to cool off the system. When this happens, the device is sending out heat and adding to the increased ambient temperature. Allow your computer to go into sleep mode, if you’ll be away for more than a few minutes and shut it off completely, when you expect to be away for longer.

4. Turn On The A/C – The obvious solution is often the simplest. In many cases, air conditioning units have been in place for years and may be run down, causing a drain on energy and poor performance. Buying a new air conditioner now will save you money in the long run and spare the household from costly repairs down the line.

5. Drink More Water – Even under normal conditions, you should be drinking a steady supply of water, but hotter temperatures require much more to regulate body temperature. Sweating is the human body’s own form of coolant. As we sweat, we’re using our body’s moisture to cool off, so it’s important to keep that moisture level topped off.

6. Don’t Cook – Whether you go out for your meals and let someone else do the cooking or you opt for cold meals (salads, sandwiches, yogurt, etc.), the key here is to resist running your own cooking appliances. Turning on the stove will heat up the indoor temperature. Even excessive use of the microwave can warm the air.

7. Just Accept It – Science has taught us some sneaky tricks for beating the heat and, among them, comes the simplest hack of them all. Get used to the heat by exposing yourself to the hotter temperatures. Spending just 10 minutes a day outside in the heat for a period of 10 days will help your body adjust to the summer weather.

8. Avoid The Pavement – Tar, cement, and other similar surfaces absorb heat and can multiply the temperature. When possible, walk, sit, or park your car on the grass. Trees, plants, and grass act as a natural air conditioner for nature. Plants absorb moisture from the soil and release it through their leaves in a process called evaporative cooling.

9. Ditch Those Incandescent Bulbs – Incandescent light bulbs give off 85 BTUs of heat (a BTU is equivalent to the heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit), so it’s best to look for alternative sources of light. One option is the use of light-emitting diodes, which emit just 3.4 BTUs per hour.

10. Rest – It’s suggested that frequent breaks from the summer heat are recommended, but not just by finding a cooler environment. It takes awhile for your core body temperature to drop in relation to the cooler atmosphere of an air-conditioned room, so experts recommend spending at least 15 minutes at rest. Remain restful, until your breathing and heart rate have had time to return to a normal pace.