How To Keep Cool In A Heatwave
Wow, it’s hot!
We British love to complain about the weather. Too hot, too cold, too wet. Personally I believe that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. The exception to that is the heat, there are only so many layers you can remove in civilised company. If the weather gets too cold you can always add more layers, grab a blanket or even go for a run to warm yourself up. It feels like there very little you can do to cool down unless you work somewhere with a walk-in chiller. So what do you do to cool down when it’s too hot and there are no layers left to remove?
Well, The mind really is amazing and there are things you can do to feel cool by getting your mind to work on your side. Here are a few ideas on how you can trick yourself cooler:
1) Chewing gum is cool
Do you love that fresh, cool feeling that you get from strong mints or the refreshing sensation that comes with brushing your teeth?
The scent of mint activates receptors which also detect cold (specifically TRPM8 if you want to look it up.) The signal the receptors send doesn’t distinguished between cold or mint and therefore your brain interprets the sensation as cooling. Or to put it another way: eating mints, chewing gum & brushing your teeth can make you feel cooler.
During a heatwave I generally make sure I have a supply of mints with me to help keep me feeling cool.
2) Cool the right bits
Unless you’re lucky enough to work with a walk-in fridge, it’s unlikely that you will be able to cool your whole body in this heat. Use cold, wet cloths or ice cubes/packs to cool the most important areas:
Because the blood travels fast and is close to the surface around the wrists. If you cool the blood at this point it will quickly travel around to cool the rest of the body.
Because you store a lot of your heat in your head if you cool your head you cool your body. To help you sleep consider chilling your pillow in the fridge for a while before bed – sounds odd but feels so nice on a hot night. If you don’t have the space or desire to stuff your whole pillow in the fridge then you can use just the pillow case.
3) Have a hot (or cool) shower
A hot shower may not sound all that appealing but it will help to reset your homeostasis (body’s equilibrium). You can have a cold shower too and it does give relief from the heat but coming out of a HOT shower will help you appreciate the ambient temperature as though it was cooler.
4) Wear Blue – look cool
You probably already know to avoid wearing black in the hot sun but most people assume that white will be the best alternative. Looking at cool shades of blue will help you feel cooler so why not wrap yourself in the right shades so you can look ‘cool’? It is also suggested that blue is the best colour for reflecting the U.V. wavelength thus reducing the heat absorbed by your clothing.
5) Cut down on sugar.
Poor sugar, it’s the bad guy in so many stories and this one is no different. Your liver and pancreas heat up significantly when digesting processed sugar. Reduce your sugar intake and reduce your temperature.
6) Look at cold things
Looking at images or videos of cold things and places can help us to feel cooler. This is because our subconscious doesn’t really know the difference between reality and imagination. Watching as David Attenborough talks about the polar regions can help you chill out in more ways than one.
7) Chill your pillow
The heat can make it harder to sleep. A little tip that I find helpful is to put my pillow case in the fridge to cool before bed. It may sound a little odd but the coolness of the pillow makes me feel much more comfortable and helps me drift off.
Share in the comments what tips you find help you to stay cool and if you’ve tried any of these.
If you are struggling to sleep because of the heat (or in general) – get your free ‘Sleep Well’ guide here: www.MindAffinity.co.uk/sleepwell