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How to Feel Cooler in the Heat

How to Feel Cooler in the Heat

 

The thermometer at 41 degrees is from my niece in Kamloops. On Wednesday the 6th. For my American readers, that’s about 110 degrees. IN CANADA FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD!

This is a bit of a departure from my typical decor-related column, granted, but if this column helps you live better in these heat-stressed days, then I’ve been successful.

People suffer in this heat. Look around. You can see the sweated brows, the slowed gait and the flushed cheeks.  It seems like no matter what some people do, they just really suffer in this heat. I know how to reduce the stress you feel because of the heat; reduce it by quite a lot, actually.  It’s so simple it’s ridiculous, yet every year I repeat this column’s intention and every year I see people I KNOW have read it suffering through.

So here we go again.

If you look at countries which have high temperatures year round, you see that the natives wear garments which are loose and cover rather than tight garments with lots of skin showing. That’s  the number one way to dress to help be comfortable in the heat.

I wear a similar garment most of the summer. I don't die in the 40 degree heat; it actually keeps me quite cool.

I wear a similar garment most of the summer. I don’t die in the 40 degree heat; it actually keeps me quite cool.

Number two  is what those garments are made of. They are natural fibres: cotton, linen, and silk. Not a tiny bit of polyester anywhere.

Number three is the weave of the fabric in these garments. WEAVE is the key here. These garments are not knits, they are woven. ( A sweater is a knit, a white dress shirt is woven. A T-shirt is a knit.

 

 

This is a knit. Each strand of yarn is twister around other strands to form the cloth. It is thicker than a fabric woven of similar thickness yarns. Think sweater.

This is a knit. Each strand of yarn is twisted around other strands to form the cloth. It is thicker than a fabric woven of similar thickness yarns. Think sweater.

woven fabric closeup

This is a woven. The yarns go over and under each other, creating lots of ‘air holes’ between them. Air isn’t trapped inside, like with a knit. Here, think gauze, or light-weight shirt fabric. You can actually blow through finely woven fabric, heat and moisture is not trapped on the skin — if the yarn is a natural fiber.

So, the take-away is: wear loose-fitting woven shirts (at the very least) which don’t bind at the neck or arms and which are made from natural fibres. T-shirts and stretchy tops are as far away from these guidelines as you can get. It’s no wonder people suffer in the heat when they are wrapped, for all intents and purposes, in polyester knits, or even cotton knits.  This includes sheets. You will sleep better in 100% cotton sheets. Period. And if you think that wearing as little as possible when you sleep will keep you cooler, you are wrong. Cotton, linen or silk sleeping clothes will keep you cooler than wearing a sleeveless knit top and polyester/cotton shorts.,

Of course there are wicking polyesters, but they are typically found in specialty garments and aren’t that accessible to the average person.

Here are a few other things to consider:

 Linen wrinkles. But did you ever wonder why a really good tropical suit is made of linen? It’s because linen is a hollow fiber and when there is no water around  (as in humidity) it shrinks up. When the humidity rises, the moisture wicks into the hollow and the fiber straightens out.

 

from: https://www.slideshare.net/sivajagadish/linen-in-india

from: https://www.slideshare.net/sivajagadish/linen-in-india

 From the  National Collaborating Centre  for Environmental Health  (http://www.ncceh.ca/content/clothing):

“People wearing polyester fibres in hot environments tend to have higher body temperatures, sweat more, and experience greater discomfort than those wearing cotton or wool.”

Higher body temperatures increase heart rate and blood pressure. Now, take this information and apply it to bed sheets.  I promise you, you will sleep better, too.

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