The ancient Egyptians had to deal with extreme heat and would in some severe cases experience temperatures of well over 115°F. Even though it would become cooler in the evening, this grueling heat made sleeping pretty difficult.
Thankfully their ingenuity prevailed and they discovered some very clever ways to cool down while sleeping, without the modern luxuries like air conditioning or electric fans.
1. Damp Sheets
Sleep under a blanket that has been dipped in cold water and then run it through the washing machine on the “spin” cycle. It should be cool and damp, not wet.
You might need to sleep on a towel to protect your mattress from moisture. In extreme cases, a second “dipping” might be needed.
2. Air Circulation
Once you’ve set up the groundwork, you can circulate the air throughout the room. This can be done by setting up a quiet fan, facing the bed. Alternatively you can move the bed to where there’s a little natural breeze. As the air passes over you, the air will cause the moisture to evaporate form the blanket and take the heat with it.
3. Avoid Too Much Sunlight
Believe it or not, your body stores heat from the day, just like any other structure or object.
Sunlight radiates energy in waves and this penetrates houses, plants and even you! Exercising in the heat during the day or even spending the day sunbathing will result in a slightly elevated body temperature in the evening.
For this reason, Egyptians knew not too spend too much time outside during a heat wave. Kings especially would make sure to remain in the shade with large sheets blocking the sun.
Even just making sure that the sunlight doesn’t bake your bedroom in the day, will leave the walls, and floors cooler in the evening.
4. Drink Ice Water
Freeze a bottle of water and sip it as it melts in the night. The near freezing point of the water will permeate your throat, chest, stomach and intestines and have a very noticeable effect on your core temperature. This is where your heart and other vital organs will feel the most relief, allowing you to cool off from the inside out.
5. Sleeping Outside
At the very extreme, sleeping outside can be the best solution. You’ll need to prepare a little for this event as bug spray or a mosquito net might be needed, but sleeping in a hammock on the patio is a real winner! You have all the fresh air you need and it should be much cooler outside than inside your home.
The Ancient Egyptians certainly did what they could to sleep cool since modern cooling technologies wouldn’t be invented for thousands of years. The principle of heat evaporation can do a lot to cool you down at night, but there are modern materials that can do just as much.
You may want to invest in a comforter for hot sleepers or a cooling mattress or sleeping pad. On this website you’ll find many different cooling products that work like a charm.