During the period of February to March each year, there is always both comic and real outcry of heat in the night. The cool harmattan breeze seems to be gone and the reality of the dry season dawns on everyone. This causes a lot of discomfort for many as the temperature inside the room may go too high for the body to sleep. According to Amelia (2018), the best temperature for sleeping is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15 to 19 degrees Celsius). Unfortunately, while many seems to be caught up with lamentation especially on social media, very few (if any) has searched for solutions.
Why Is There So Much Heat?
The primary reason why there is so much heat is simply that the day is more sunny and hot with no rains to cool the weather off.Again, the ozone layer has also been depleted by green house emissions that its power to ward-off the overbearing effect of the sun has been reduced. Hence, during the noon, the walls of the house absorbs the heat from the sun and in the night, emits the heat inside the house. So, in the night, if you go close to the part of your house where the sun was much during the day, you MAY feel the wall emitting heat. These days, most houses are built with bricks all through without concerns for materials that can ward off heat, hence, the heat have the night all through.
Another reason why there is so much heat is the building pattern in most areas. The houses are built side by side without space, hence there is no breeze coming in because the buildings are blocking all the necessary channels. Most areas too do not have trees planted around – just buildings. Trees affect our climate and weather in three primary ways: they lower temperatures, reduce energy usage and reduce or remove air pollutants. Each part of the tree contributes to climate control, from leaves to roots.
What Can You Do? (Local Solutions)
Before we look into the long term and global solutions, it is best we look inward – local solutions for those without ACs. The following suggestions will help:
1. Ventilate the house: During the early hours of the evening, i.e. from 6:00am upward, endeavour to open up all curtains and give way for air to flow in/out. In most African sub-regions however, fear of mosquitoes may not allow many to open up the doors and windows. If this is the case, then endeavour to get some doors and windows nets because ventilation is very important here.
2. Avoid Evening Visitation: When more persons are inside the house, there is bound to be heat instead of cool temperature. If there must be visitors, stay outside and ventilate the house for the night sleep.
3. If you have a standing fan, Place one facing outside through the window. A friend once complained that he was using two fans in his house but the temperature was still the same as the fans were all bringing hot breeze. A simple way to handle this is to allow one fan to face outside. That fan takes away the hot air in the house, while the other circulates the air within. If you go out of the house to feel the air the fan you placed facing outside is emitting, you will feel that the air is hotter than the outside temperature. This is a nice way of cooling the house fast. However, when doing this, ensure that there is another inlet where air can come in as the fan takes hot air out through the window.
4. Protect the wall from direct sunlight: If at all there is anything you can do to cover the side of the wall in your house that the sun heats the most from direct sunlight, you will have to do that. Something like constructing an extension or a blind/shutters from under the roof to cover the wall from the hot sun. This is because the wall will absorb the heat and conducts it inside the house at night.
5. Cover all curtains during daytime: During day time, it will be nice to cover the house by drawing all curtains close. This is because the sun can heat up the house if it got access in.
6. Households with air conditioners would surely not be bothered with the level of heat during the dry season. Air conditioners would be one of the best options to stay cool.
7. Re-chargeable fans: Since electricity supply is epileptic in most part of the world, the use of re-chargeable fans would be very useful. Most rechargeable fans would work till day break if fully charged.
8. Use of solar systems: The addition of solar systems would be very useful as it will help boost electricity supply to power fans.
9. Totally avoid cooking in the night if kitchen in inside the same apartment: Cooking in the evening/night will contribute to the hot air inside. Why not get something already made to eat in the night if no proper food arrangement was made earlier?
10. Avoid use of many electronics: Electronics generates heats a lot. So, avoid it altogether if the house is too hot. Even fans too generate heat. So, be selective of the brand you use (Brown, n.d.)
11. Turn of the lights, they generate heat too: Even energy saver bulbs also generate a measure of heat. So, turn all off except if being used.
11. Cool on time: Do not wait till sleep time and then when heat start discomforting you before you make a move. Start as early as you can. Ventilate the whole place and avoid heat all through. By bedtime, the house is set to take some sleep.
1. Sleep naked
2. Take a shower
3. If at all, use cloths made of cotton
4. Sleep on the floor. The tiles/cement floor are cooler
5. Avoid “weather for two” before you get yourself all choked up. This is probably not the time. Try sleep alone
6. You may want to soak the body towel and sleep on it.
1. Plant some trees, by next season, you already got some natural ACs around
2. Readjust your windows: Look out for the direction of your windows. Do they tally with the direction of the incoming air? Is the window blocked by other buildings? Lookout for these things to ensure unfettered air access to the house
So, this is it for now. Try some of the tips above and get yourself some nice sleep.
Amelia, W. (2018). What is the best temperature for sleep? Retrieved February 25th, 2020 from https://www.tuck.com/best-temperature-for-sleep/
Brown, S. (n.d.). 15 ways to reduce heat inside your home without using electricity. Retrieved February 25th, 2020 fromhttps://www.lifehack.org/427165/15-ways-to-reduce-heat-inside-your-home-without-using-electricity