People Are Trying This Unusual Hack To Beat The Heat, But One Expert Has A Warning

During the summer months, when temperatures soar and everybody hits the beach, the excitement is palpable. But after the novelty wears off, we soon find that trying to live our lives when it’s so darn hot can be excruciating. Getting to sleep at night can be particularly problematic. And while we try all manner of hacks to stay cool, there’s one that requires a more cautious approach or it risks going awry.

When it gets hot, there are a number of conventional methods to cool down that we all go to first. One of the most reliable is the humble fan, which can be bought in various shapes and sizes. Yes, you can have ceiling fans in your home, handheld fans for different rooms, tiny fans for your face, and even desk fans that keep you cool at work.

And many lucky people have air-conditioning units in their homes or workplaces, and these are godsends during the summer. For example, in the United States 90 percent of new-build family homes in 2019 came complete with air-conditioning. However, in many European countries, such as the United Kingdom, it is much less common.

Staying hydrated is perhaps the most important method of keeping cool in the heat. The hotter it is, the more the human body will sweat, and it is vital that we replace the fluids being lost. So it’s always a good idea to have a water bottle within close reach, and we should drink from it regularly.

During the summer, people wear less clothing, that much is obvious. Shorts, t-shirts, and dresses with open-toed sandals or flip flops tend to be the order of the day. But it’s worth keeping in mind that the clothes you pick should not be tight or constricting, but floaty and loose. You should also wear white as much as possible, avoiding the dark colors that trap heat close to your body.

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Furthermore, when you spend time outside, try staying in the shade as much as possible. Yes, avoiding direct sunlight by walking under trees or in the shade provided by buildings and sheltered walkways will help you avoid overheating. But it will also be good for your skin, which can be damaged by sunlight if you don’t wear sunscreen.

If you can’t afford an expensive air-conditioning unit, there are lots of clever life hacks you can use to get some respite from the heat. And the most obvious one is to close your curtains and shut your blinds. After all, 30 percent of undesired heat comes into a house through the windows.

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However, if you do feel more comfortable having your windows open, there is still an option for keeping cool. You could try hanging wet sheets in front of the windows. Theoretically, the hot air coming in will evaporate the water in the sheet. This will generate a cold stream of air entering the home.

Also, creating a wind tunnel is a viable option if you have windows or doors on opposite sides of your apartment or house. In the early mornings or late evenings, when it’s not quite as warm as in the afternoon, simply place a fan in front of the window where most air enters. Then put another fan facing outward at the opposite window. The cold breeze will then travel nicely through your home.

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What’s more, filling a hot water bottle with ice cold water is a technique that will always cool you down. However, don’t put it against your stomach like you would with the hot version. Place it behind your knees or under your ankles, and this will circulate the coolness throughout your whole body.

And if your house or apartment has ceiling fans, it’s a good idea to ensure they are spinning counter-clockwise. This will help create a cool breeze that pushes downward. As an extra life hack, in the winter you should ensure the blades are spinning clockwise. This makes the air go upwards, which pushes warm air throughout the room.

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Running an ice cube or cold towel over your pulse points will cool you down quickly. This is because at these pulse points, such as on your wrists or neck, the blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. Cooling these blood vessels means you are attempting to cool yourself down internally, unlike other methods which only focus externally.

Applying moisturizing cream to a hot, sweaty face is never a pleasant experience, so try keeping your beauty products in the refrigerator. Things like moisturizer, body lotion, aloe gels, eye creams and perfume can all be chilled, and when you subsequently use them the cooling effect will be wonderful. As a bonus, keeping them cold may also lengthen the shelf life of some of the products.

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Furthermore, if you want to go for a run or a walk on a hot day, you’d do well to think about where. You see, it’s a good idea to run alongside a body of water, such as a river, lake or even an ocean. This is because bodies of water have a cooling effect on the area immediately surrounding them.

There is also a way you can fool your brain into thinking your body is cold, and this involves mint. Yes, anytime you chew a piece of gum or eat an after-dinner mint, your mouth is cooled down. If you then drink a glass of water soon after ingesting the mint, it will seem much colder than it did before.

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Why does this happen? Well, it’s all to do with sensory neurons which respond to cold temperatures. These neurons react to mint and menthol in the same way they react to the cold, though scientists don’t exactly know why. The neurons send a signal to your brain that it’s cold, even though mint doesn’t actually cause the temperature of your mouth to change.

All of this means that, if you drink peppermint tea on a hot day, you can trick your brain into thinking your body is cooling down. Reader’s Digest even took the idea one step further. It suggested chilling the tea in the refrigerator, before putting it in a spray bottle which can then be used to spritz yourself throughout the day.

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To add to that, turning your home into a haven for houseplants can cool you down. This is because the plants absorb hot air during their natural growth. They also release water from their leaves when they are in hot environments, which cools both the plants themselves and the surrounding area. Chinese evergreens, ficus benjamini and palms are all ideal plants for this purpose.

But remember that we’re all obsessed with technology these days and our homes are filled to the brim with devices. As these devices are used, they emit heat, just like any other electrical appliance. Therefore, to cool down your home you can try turning off all your devices that aren’t currently in use.

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By the way, when we say “off”, we mean it. For example, you should turn your television off at the plug when you aren’t watching it, not simply put it on standby. And you should unplug your phone and laptop charger, rather than leave them plugged in when you’re not using them. This is because standby modes still drain small amounts of energy and continue to give off heat.

Finally, while the saying goes that there is nothing cooler than the other side of the pillow, there is a more literal way to cool your bed down to help you sleep. A good tip is to put your sheets in the fridge for an hour or two before going to bed. The initial cool feeling will help you get to sleep quicker, even if your body heat ends up warming the sheets throughout the night.

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Now, on August 11, 2020 Dr. Sarah Jarvis appeared on U.K. breakfast TV show Good Morning Britain, during an oppressive heatwave. Co-hosts Adil Ray and Kate Garraway discussed the hot weather, which was causing many to have trouble sleeping. Weather presenter Laura Tobin even announced record overnight temperatures.

Who is Dr. Jarvis? According to her profile on the BBC website, she, “has over 30 years’ experience in the NHS, and over 26 years as a General Practitioner, not to mention 22 years as a mother. She combines working as a GP with a role as Clinical Director of the patient information website Patient.info.”

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The Patient website, “provides free health information written by NHS doctors for patients all over the world.” And Dr. Jarvis, “believes passionately in helping people to take control of their own health.” She also believes, “equally strongly in ensuring that everyone has reliable health information to allow them to make really informed decisions.”

The BBC profile continues, “Sarah became a GP trainer in 1994 and has trained over 30 other GPs. She has worked closely with the Royal College of GPs as trainee representative and Women’s Health Spokesperson. She also works with several medical charities, including the alcohol charity Drinkaware and several cancer charities.”

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Regarding her move into the media, the profile states, “Sarah got involved in medical media completely by accident but loves the fact that it gives her the opportunity to let the facts get in the way of a good headline. As well as her work with Patient.info, she has authored seven books for patients.”

These days, Dr. Jarvis is the health and medical reporter for the BBC’s The One Show, a nightly television magazine show. She also often appears as a guest on BBC Radio 2’s The Jeremy Vine Show. Then, in July 2020, it was announced she would be filling in for Dr. Hilary Jones on Good Morning Britain.

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On the show, Ray asked his co-host how well she slept the previous night, and Garraway admitted her slumber was uncomfortable. She said, “Terribly, it was so hot and muggy. Everyone is struggling.” Following this, however, she revealed that she had tried an unusual hack to cool down in the soaring night-time temperatures.

“I tried the whole dipping your bed sheet in water,” said Garraway. “It does work a bit but then you get too chilly.” The co-hosts implored their audience to send in their hints and suggestions for cooling down at bedtime, while Ray admitted he was having a much nicer time at night than Garraway.

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Ray, who is primarily known as an actor and comedian, is not a full-time host on the show. In fact, he is a relief presenter, filling in when regular hosts are on vacation. Therefore, his experience is different from Garraway’s. As Good Morning Britain is filmed in London, and Ray lives a two hour train journey away, he stays in a hotel while working on the show.

Therefore, his semi-joking advice for viewers trying to beat the heat was, “Try and get a job with ITV and they’ll put you in a hotel with air conditioning. If you travel from Birmingham, they are required to put you in a hotel. It’s great.”

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After that, Dr. Jarvis came on the show to offer her tips. She cautioned viewers about having a cold shower before going to bed, saying, “We don’t want to have a really cold shower.” Her advice was to have a cooler-than-usual shower, as opposed to an outright cold one, and then drip dry.

“If you have a cool shower and then allow the water to evaporate off your skin,” explained Dr. Jarvis, “it will definitely help cool you down.” She then addressed the viewer’s suggestion of filling a hot water bottle with cold water and freezing it, which Garraway confirmed she’d tried out. Garraway’s opinion was, “It does work. It does help, definitely.”

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But Dr. Jarvis issued her with a warning, saying, “They stole my idea about the cold hot water bottles. But please don’t forget; never put ice directly onto your skin because that can cause ice burns. But a cool flannel around your neck, and possibly putting sheets in the freezer, but not again risking ice burns, can help.”

Amusingly, the sleep-deprived Garraway became confused by this, wondering out loud how anyone could fit these items in their freezer. Well, Dr. Jarvis pointed out she meant bed sheets or duvet covers, not the duvet itself. Garraway laughed, “Oh, I think I had in my mind a duvet,” and Dr. Jarvis responded, “Yeah, a bit different, don’t need one of those at the minute!”

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Dr. Jarvis also dismissed a method of keeping cool in the home that many Britons have long sworn by. With temperatures hitting heights of 86F in some areas of the United Kingdom, people had been keeping their windows closed and blinds drawn during the daytime. They were then opening the windows and blinds at night-time.

Unfortunately, Dr. Jarvis revealed that this plan of action would have no effect during the heatwave, as evening temperatures were just as warm as daytime ones. She said, “For a lot of people, the heatwave can be tricky, particularly at night. One big problem we have got is that the temperature is not going down at night.”

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Dr. Jarvis continued, “Most people, even if it’s very hot during the day, we always say that you keep your curtains shut during the day. And then, as soon as it gets cooler, opening your windows and curtains to cool things down. We can’t really do that anymore as it is constantly so hot at night.”

To add to that, Dr. Jarvis spoke about who is the most at risk during a heatwave, bringing into sharp perspective how potentially dangerous the temperatures can be. She said, “Older people are at a much higher risk because they’re not aware when they become dehydrated. They’re more at risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Babies too.”

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“Also of course at this time, give a thought to menopausal women,” Dr. Jarvis continued. “There’s an awful lot of them out there, and night sweats as well as hot flushes are a real thing. They are only too used to being able to have different layers that they can throw off at night and putting sheets in the fridge or freezer in a plastic bag and bringing them out earlier.”

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