Hot humid weather can mean no sleep.
The humidity is the main problem though because it stops your sweat from evaporating efficiently, making you sticky and uncomfortable. This can be unbearable if you’re not used to it.
Of course the easy solution is to turn on the air conditioning, but what if you’re in a place that doesn’t have that sort of luxury?
I would recommend the tricks people use in Mediterranean countries.
1. Make sure you keep your room cool by keeping the curtains closed during the day. The windows can be open, but keep the curtains drawn. All Mediterranean countries have shutters on their windows for this very reason. If you let the sun in, not only will it bleach your furniture and paintwork, but it will also raise the temperature in the room to an unbearable level.
2. If one side is sunny then shut the window and open the window on the shaded side. You will have to change this as the sun rotates, but you get the idea.
3. Once the sun has gone, open all curtains and windows. Keep the lights off to discourage flying insects like mosquitoes and moths. Also, remember that it is never advisable to leave windows open in unattended rooms if you’re on the ground floor.
4. If you have a fan use it because that will help dry your body as you sleep.
5. Sleep on thin cotton, not nylon or anything synthetic like a sleeping bag. I always carry a light thin cotton sheet and pillowcase with me when I travel just in case. You might also need to bring a mosquito net with you.
6. Go for a stroll before bed, you will be in great company because in southern European countries people always go out after their evening meal. It is not unusual to see children playing in brightly lit piazzas till midnight.
8. Take a cool shower before you get into bed, and keep some cool water near the bed. The heat can make you thirsty during the night. It’s nice to put a few drops of fresh lemon in the water.
9. If you can’t sleep get up and do something. Lying in bed will make you feel much hotter. Many Mediterranean people go to bed late in the evenings and get up early, taking advantage of the fresher mornings, but then they sleep in the afternoon in order to avoid the midday sun.
I have wonderful childhood memories of our summer holidays in Italy. My grandma used to put us to bed for our afternoon sleep, keeping us cool with thin cotton sheets and by opening the cool windows in our room and shutting the shutters. We were cool while outside the hot sun blazed.
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