How to Beat the Summer Heat

It would be an understatement to say that we are currently enduring a bit of a heatwave right now. The mercury continues to rise and we continue to melt as we enter the dog days of summer. While I certainly prefer the brilliant sun of the summer over the miserable overcast clouds of the winter, there has to be something that can be done about the heat.

How do you stay cool during the summer? What’s your best strategy for combatting the heat and staying comfortable during these warmer days and nights? Here are a few techniques that you may want to try. Feel free to share some tips and secrets of your own through the comment form at the bottom of the page.

A Damp Towel on the Back of the Neck

When you are suffering from a heat stroke or a high fever, you are sometimes told to place a damp towel on your forehead or on the back of your neck. This is a very effective way to lower your core temperature, since the moisture naturally allows for a cooling effect and improved heat dissipation. When the towel starts to get a little too warm, head back over to the bathroom sink to recharge it with some fresh cold water.

A Very Hot or a Very Cold Drink

This will vary based on your cultural preferences. In the Western world, we usually look for the coldest drink possible when we’re boiling. Grab an ice cold glass of water. Sip on a terrific watermelon smoothie. This can provide for some great short-term relief from the heat, since you get the cool sensation of the drink. Ironically, studies have shown that cold drinks have the opposite effect in the long run, since your body reacts to the influx of cold by increasing your core body temperature to compensate.

That’s where the Eastern philosophy may be more appropriate. That’s why people in Southeast Asia and India drink so much piping hot tea. This gets your body to sweat and while you’ll feel very hot initially, the net effect is a lower core body temperature. This is the opposite of the Western approach. This is yet another reason why coffee is good for you, though the caffeine may increase your heart rate and generate additional heat.

Shutting It All Down

Rather than trying to cool yourself directly, you can beat the summer heat by minimizing the heat sources in your home. There’s a good chance that your computer, whether it be a laptop or a desktop, is filling the air around it with heat. The same can be said about your modem, router, television, Xbox, and any number of other electronics. It may be tough, but it could be a good idea to shut it all off.

This will significantly reduce the amount of heat being generated in your home. It also reduces your electricity consumption, as well as your carbon footprint. Mother Nature will love you for it.

The Air-Conditioned Refuge of the Mall

I realize that this almost defeats the whole purpose of enjoying the summer weather, but sometimes the heat is just too much to bear. Of all the public places in town, the shopping mall usually has one of the most reliable air conditioning systems available. It’s always nice and chilly in there during the summer and it can give you a good opportunity to unplug from the matrix while you’re at it. Grab a cool beverage, hang out in the food court, and do a little people-watching.

A Wet Towel on the Window

This idea follows the same concept as the wet towel on the back of the neck. I don’t recall exactly, but I think this solution came from a recent Lifehacker post. Essentially, you drape a wet towel over an open window. The moisture in the towel will cool the air as it enters your home, helping to minimize the amount of heat that makes its way through the window.

Alternatively, you can try spending more time in the basement. Heat rises and basements are usually quite shrouded from the outside sun, so they usually end up being the coolest places in the house.

What do you do to keep cool?