The world is heating up, and that process is causing more and more heatwaves. The chances that a heatwave will hit your area are vastly increasing with each passing year, and they’re getting more intense, too, with higher temperatures being recorded around the world each time a heatwave strikes. With that being the case, you might be wondering how you can keep yourself cool when you do find yourself beset by hot weather. Here are 10 tips for staying cool in a heatwave.

1. Stay hydrated

The first and most important tip we can give you for staying cool in a heatwave is to keep yourself hydrated. Stay topped up with a regular water supply throughout the day. Squash and fizzy drinks can count as hydration, too, but make sure that you’re not drinking alcohol, as this can have a deleterious effect on your health overall. It’s a good idea to keep a water supply in the fridge, so that you can have access to quick, on-tap cold water when you need it.

2. Keep your feet cool

There are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet, and when the weather is hot, they’re going to struggle to keep you cool. That’s why it’s important to keep your feet cool during a heatwave. Try to immerse them in cold water every hour or so in order to keep your temperature regulated. Other tips for keeping your feet cool include draping a cold, wet towel over them, spraying them with a cooling spray, or using a hot water bottle filled with crushed ice.

3. Be careful with your fan

While it might seem immediately obvious to use a fan to cool yourself down during a heatwave, you may actually be doing more harm than good in certain instances. Using a fan could simply be pushing hot air around your room, not actually cooling you down. For maximum effect, use a fan close to a window in order to push the hot air back out. Add a second fan blowing air back into the room in order to create circulation and keep the air fresh.

4. Wear loose, light clothing

Naturally, when it’s hot, you don’t want to opt for heavy, dark clothing. Heavy clothing won’t make you feel good; it’ll just keep your body warm and stop you from being able to move freely. Similarly, dark clothing will absorb sunlight, heating you up even further. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing in light colours. Another surprising tip for keeping cool in a heatwave is to wear socks; you may not want to, but socks can actually absorb sweat, keeping your feet cooled down.

5. Switch off your lights

You may struggle to do this if you’re having trouble sleeping and you need to stay awake, but switching off your lights is a good idea in the middle of a heatwave. Lightbulbs create heat, so switching them off means there’s less heat in the room. Simple, no? If you really must switch your lights on, make sure they’re not on for a protracted period of time; turn them on for as long as you need to, then immediately switch them off when you’re done.

6. Turn off electronics

In much the same way as lights, electronics can generate unnecessary heat. If you’re currently using an electronic device, only keep it switched on for as long as absolutely necessary. If the device is not in use, switch it off, and don’t keep it in standby mode, either, as this could still be passively generating heat. This has the added benefit of protecting your electronics; depending on how hot your environment gets, you may find that electronic devices start to overheat if you leave them on anyway.

7. Close your windows

It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the things you can do if your house or flat is too hot is to close the windows. If the air outside is hotter than it is inside, then all you’re doing by keeping your windows open is letting in warm air, and you don’t want to do that. Keep your windows closed while it’s hot outside and you’ll keep your room cool. Of course, if there’s a strong breeze outside, then you should definitely keep your windows open to circulate the air. 

8. Shut your curtains

If you have curtains or dark blinds (which you should, by the way), then it’s a good idea to keep them closed during the day. When the sun is shining, the light can stream in through your windows, heating up your room. Keeping your curtains or blinds closed ensures that the light reflects off them, meaning that you’re keeping temperatures low. Once the day is over or the sun has gone down, it’s safe to open your blinds again. Repeat this trick each day and hopefully, your home should cool down.

9. Sleep downstairs

Heat rises, as we all know, so sleeping as low to the ground as you possibly can is a good idea if you want to minimise discomfort from the heat. If you can’t achieve this – if you live in a high-rise, for example – then you may want to try and sleep on a mattress on the floor rather than sleeping in bed. It likely won’t make a huge difference, but that tiny amount cooler you feel could help you to sleep, so it’s worth considering if you’re tossing and turning.

10. Buy an air con unit

Okay, so this last one isn’t really a “tip” or a “hack”, but it’s worth considering nonetheless. If you live in the UK, then there’s a good chance that your flat or home doesn’t have in-built air con. Many homes in the UK simply aren’t prepared for a heatwave, and that’s true around the world, too, so if you don’t have adequate preparation, don’t be ashamed to buy an air conditioning unit. The power usage will be immense, but the tradeoff in comfort is worth it.