My sleep has taken a nose dive. And it’s not totally because of the return to work.
It’s just too hot.
Days and days of extreme heat without much relief at night means sleeping is really disrupted. It’s a struggle to drop off! I wake every hour or so when the body heats up, until the last three hours when I fall into a deep, exhausted sleep. You wake feeling akin to having a massive hangover.
Here’s the temperature last Sunday.
The promise of 25° overnight was more of a tease. Didn’t get there until a microsecond before sunrise. Anyway, it didn’t get there inside with the doors shut overnight.
For those of you who prefer Fahrenheit, here’s last Friday, as in two days ago.
So how to stay cool without an air conditioner?
Our usual practice resists day temperatures in the low thirties and when it drops to the low twenties overnight.
Usually in summer, we open all our doors and windows before the sun rises. (Well, Mr S does. He gets up and opens everything without waking me, bless him.) Then we shut up everything – doors, windows, blinds – as soon as the temperature is hotter outside. This keeps inside surprisingly cool throughout the day, until about 5pm when the ambient air temperature and the western sun is just too much.
Fans, we own lots of fans. A fan on overnight keeps us surprisingly cool and the white noise is very restful. When the night is too warm I use wet face washers and drape them over my feet or legs. Or I hop in the shower and only slightly dry myself before hopping in bed. The water evaporates with the fan and cools me enormously, allowing me to drop off.
The sun sets at the back of our house, so the afternoon we sit on the front verandah where it is more pleasant – shaded and cool.
But none of these techniques have helped in the current heat wave.
What have I been doing?
Drinking lots of iced water which drops the internal body temp.
Having frequent dips in our pool and then sitting, wet, in front of a fan. I have not been a big user of our pool for the last five or so years but the recent heat has driven me to it. That and I have rediscovered the joy of swimming naked.
I have also draped an ice pack, kept in the freezer for injuries, around my neck, legs and feet.
Yesterday afternoon and evening, I wanted to read a book but it was just too uncomfortably hot. How hot? Well, so hot when I got off our leather lounge, the top layer of skin of my upper back, which was bare as I had a sarong wrapped around me, remained on the lounge. Yes, it ripped off and was clearly visible on the lounge. And yes, god it hurt.
How hot? Well after the sun set it was still 40°C/100°F.
Yes, HOT. DAMN HOT. FUCKING HOT. So hot we discussed whether we’d move to NZ or Tassie or Armidale.
Anyway, we must be the only house in our street that doesn’t have air conditioning. I couldn’t float in the pool and read so decided I would use the technique I used as a child of the western suburbs, pre air conditioners and pools.
No, I didn’t jump through the sprinkler in the yard. (Though last week when I watered some plants out front, I did send water myself.)
As a child, I used to sit in the bath. My current bath is a big old claw-footed one. It holds me perfectly, comfortably. The sides are smooth, unlike the pool. I am out of the sun, unlike the pool. I have a bath caddy on which to rest my book and glass, unlike the pool.
Still, I jumped in the pool at least six times yesterday.
OK. None of this helped me sleep a sustained sleep. So I am happy to adopt siestas, lots of them whenever the mood strikes me.
And look to the weather forecast, frequently, hoping for cooler weather.