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How to Cool Down a Room – All You Need to Know

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Written by Alex Petrović

Sleep Consultant

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29 January 2024 9 min read

It's no secret that a hot and stuffy room is going to make falling asleep a lot harder. After all, most of us aren't used to sleeping in an oven. So, here's how to cool down a room quickly and easily!

Whether it's the summer or you just can't stand any temperature above 15 degrees, knowing how to cool down a room can make your life a lot easier. And if you don't have air conditioning, this can prove to be quite a difficult task – especially since environmentalists predict that the UK is going to get even hotter in the next few decades.

But don't worry – there are a surprising number of ways you can keep your room cool! You can cool down a room by opening up your windows at night and keeping them closed at night, keeping sunlight out, letting the hot air go out through the attic, etc.

So, stick around to see which method works best for you!

Letting the hot air out

Firstly, let's talk about a few ways that you can make warm air vacate the premises, leaving a much nicer, colder room behind. After all, if you're just relying on a regular fan, it's just going to spin the same hot air in circles, leaving your room just as hot as when you started.

That being said, it's typically easier to keep hot air out than it is to get rid of it once it's already swirling around. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do (aside from just turning on the air conditioner).

Open your windows at night

An image of a person opening up a window

If you're a night owl, make use of the evening cool air and open up your windows.

That way the cooler air from outside can make your room a bit more comfortable.

However, if you get up after sunrise, don't leave the window open all night.

After all, once the sun is out (especially in hot weather), you'll quickly undo all of the work you just put in.

But if you do get up before it gets hot, feel free to leave the window open or ajar, so that you get a nice, cool breeze during the evening and early morning.

Just make sure that you also have a mosquito net installed, so that you don't get bitey roommates alongside that cooling breeze.

Point a fan at an open window

This is like an upgraded version of the previous tip. After all, it's a lot faster than just relying on Mother Nature to get all that hot air out.

All you have to do is wait for those evening temperature drops, open up a window, point a fan towards the outside, and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.

This will force a lot of the hot air out, making your room cooler and hopefully allowing you to get some much-needed sleep. However, if you live in a flat, make sure that the fan isn't too loud, as you don't walk to wake up the entire building.

We've also seen people use two fans in a similar manner to keep their house cool. Basically, step one is the same. However, they then use a second fan to draw air into the room and create a cross breeze.

Open the attic door

An image of an attic

Since warm air is lighter than cold air, it naturally rises to the top.

So, if you live in a house and have an attic, you can use this fun principle to keep your bedroom cool.

All you have to do is open up your attic door.

As the heat rises, it will go into the attic, leaving your room nice and cool.

Sure, it's not as noticeable as air conditioning but considering it takes a minute to do, it's a nice trick to keep in mind.

Turn on your extraction fans

On a similar note, you can also use your extraction fans to get rid of some of the hot air. All you have to do is to open up the doors between your bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. Then, simply turn on the extraction fans in the kitchen and bathroom for 10-15 minutes.

Hopefully, this will be enough time to let some of the hot air get sucked up. But if you're cooling down an entire house, it will likely take a lot more time.

Again, it's not going to drop the room temperature by 10 degrees but it can make a difference.

Keeping the warm air out

If the previous four tips didn't exactly blow you away, pun intended, this should be more up to your speed. After all, the best way to make your room stay cool is to keep it from getting hot in the first place.

So, let's go over a few ways you can do exactly that!

However, do keep in mind two things. Firstly, some of these tips do require specific products. So, they're not as easy to implement as the previous four. Secondly, make sure to only use them during the hotter months, as you don't want to make winter even colder than it already is.

Get blackout blinds/curtains

An image of a blackout curtain

The position and make of your windows are very important when it comes to keeping things cool. And that's because, if you have an East or West-facing window, the summer sun is going to turn your room into an oven rather quickly.

Plus, this is a long-term issue, meaning that even if you do have air conditioning, it will have to be kept on during most of the day – which isn't exactly energy efficient.

So, how about we stop our room from getting hot in the first place? The best way we've found to do this is to invest in blackout blinds or blackout curtains.

Blackout curtains are generally a bit heavier than blinds and are susceptible to being blown away by the wind. However, they're also a bit more elegant and distinct. Plus, they're better insulators, which could be a plus if you keep them up year-round.

Blackout blinds on the other hand are a lot more subtle. They can also have insulating properties if you get a thermal backing. Plus, you can get temporary blinds, and easily take them off once the hotter months have passed.

So, it's up to you which you prefer. We think they're equally as effective when it comes to keeping your room cool.

Keep your windows closed

If you don't want your room's temperature to be the same as the boiling temperature outside, you should leave your windows closed during the day and only open them up during the night.

It's simple thermodynamics – if you open up the windows during the day, the hotter air from outside will move towards the colder air in your room, and said warmer air will then stay in your room.

So, while it might seem like a good idea to have open windows and let things air out, it's likely doing more harm than good.

Avoid using the kitchen if you can

While it's not as drastic as some people make it out to be, keeping the oven on for over an hour will release hot air into your apartment/house. So, if you can have a cookout outside or use the oven at night when you can quickly open up a window and let the hot air out, can make a difference.

Also, keep the extraction fan on! After all, this will help get rid of all that steam coming up.

But generally, we'd say that you'll only notice a change in temperature if you live in a small flat – for example, if you have a studio apartment.

Cooling your room down

If you can't keep the warm air out, you need to cool the room down. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do in this department, that range from just spending some money to a little DIY project.

However, do note that some of these tips are just going to make the room feel a bit colder and not necessarily drop the ambient temperature. In other words, it's always going to have the same effect as air conditioning but it should allow you to be more at ease and get some sleep.

Get a cooling fan

The best way to cool down a room is to simply use a cooling fan. Typically, these fans have a mechanism that allows them to blow a cool breeze in your direction, making it a lot easier to fall asleep.

However, the best cooling fans do a little more than that and act like a DIY air conditioner. That being said, they also cost a pretty penny. So, while they can cool a room fast, they're not always the cheapest option.

Make a DIY cooling fan

If getting a cooling fan is a bit too expensive for you, don't worry, you have other options. Since a lot of cooling fans use cold water or ice packs to create a cool breeze, you can replicate the results on your own.

Just get a good bedroom fan, fill up a bowl with some ice cubes, and then leave the bowl right in front of the fan. As the fan blows air, it will pick up some of the cool air from the ice, and lead to a nice little breeze.

Just remember to swap out the ice every few hours and you should be fine.

Use a wet sheet

If you want an even more hands-on approach, no fan needed, hang up a wet sheet near a window. As the outside air comes in, it will go through the sheet and provide a colder “wind” effect.

With that being said, you're also letting some of the hot air inside as well. And you might need a dehumidifier if you live in a more humid climate. So, not exactly ideal.

Use a ceiling fan

An image of a ceiling fan

Did you know that ceiling fans are the most effective when it comes to air circulation?

And while just moving the air around won't actually drop the room temperature, it will make it feel a lot more comfortable.

Plus, you can use this tip in combination with one of the others (like turning on the exhaust fans) to a rather great effect.

And if you have multiple ceiling fans, you should be relatively comfortable even without air conditioning.

Keeping yourself cool

When you're trying to get some sleep during the summer, it's not just the room temperature that you have to worry about. After all, even if your room is cool, your body temperature can still make you wake up covered in sweat.

So, let's talk about a few ways you can battle your body heat and hopefully stay cool during the night. Of course, for the best results, we recommend combining these tips with some of the ones we've already mentioned.

After all, your body can't stay cool if the room is hot, and you can't be comfortable if you're covered in sweat.

Wearing breathable PJs

An image of a woman in pyjamas

Since your pyjamas are in direct contact with your skin, you have to make sure they're as breathable as possible – especially if you're a hot sleeper.

And if you want the best pyjamas, you should seek out naturally breathable materials.

Bamboo is an excellent choice here as well as high thread-count cotton.

And if you really want to feel cosy, you can opt for silk pyjamas as well – as they feel very cool to the touch.

Of course, you can also just sleep in your underwear.

Get a cooling pillow

When it comes to bedding, some items are simply more breathable than others. And we think people especially get this wrong when it comes to pillows.

This is because quite a few lower-end pillows use untreated memory foam that will hold onto your body heat and make you sweat up a storm.

So, try to find cooling pillows that either use treated memory foam or something like goose down. Trust us, you'll notice the difference.

Get breathable bedding

On your list of bedding priorities, sheets and covers are up next. Just like with the PJs, since you'll be in direct contact with the sheets and covers, you want to make sure they're breathable.

For a “one and done” deal, we suggest taking a look at Panda's bamboo bedding, as it's very cool to the touch. But if you have a bigger budget and want to pick and choose, you can get silk duvet covers or silk pillowcases separately.

Get a cooling mattress/topper

Yes, even your mattress does play a part here. Just like with the pillows, if your mattress uses untreated memory foam, it will trap heat and make you feel hot during the night.

So, if you're looking for a new mattress, try to find a good cooling mattress to stay comfortable. This might seem like a big price to pay to just breeze through the summer but it's worth pointing out that these mattresses usually work the other way around as well. AKA they will keep you nice and cosy during the winter as well.

And if you want to save a bit of money and/or have a relatively new mattress, consider getting a cooling topper instead. Not only can a good topper keep you cool but it can also help you be more comfortable at night, especially if your mattress is on the older side.

Bonus tip: make sure that your duvet has a low TOG. If you can't fall asleep without covering yourself, make sure to invest in a low TOG duvet that will stop you from becoming an overnight microwave.

Lower your core body temperature

If you just have trouble falling asleep during the summer but don't tend to get woken up by the heat, here's a neat little trick you can do. Namely, just take a cold shower right before bedtime and then go to sleep.

The drop in body temperature will signal your brain that it's time to go to sleep, and with any luck, you'll be in dreamland before the effect wears off. Sure, it doesn't fix the hot room issue but it does help you avoid dealing with it. Cold compresses can also be used here.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are quite a few ways to cool a room down. So, even though summer can be quite annoying at night, it's not like you have to be at the mercy of the heat wave.

And now that you know how to cool down a room fast, we hope you'll be getting all the sleep you'll ever need. But if none of these tips seem to help, getting an air conditioner might be worth the cost in the long run.

But let us know in the comments how you like to cool off during the summer!

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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