Is Old Man Winter nipping at your nose, chilling your toes, and driving up your utility bill with the increased use of your heating system? Instead of raising the thermostat to keep you warm while you sleep, consider some alternatives to heating the entire house. After all, the only room in use is the bedroom, so you can stay snug and reduce your energy consumption at the same time.
Here are nine tips to keep a warm bedroom without raising the heat.
Check for Drafts
If your bedroom windows (and doors leading to the outside if you have them) have any gaps or cracks, the warm inside air is likely leaking to the outside. This will leave you chilly and cause you to overspend on utilities to maintain your desired indoor air temperature.
So each season, check all windows and doors that open to the outside. You can feel by hand for drafts with all windows and doors closed. Or hold a burning incense stick around the windows and doors, and watch for any abnormal smoke movement. Fix the gaps, and your room will stay warmer. Caulk or weatherstrip are easy and cost-effective ways to seal those small leaks around windows and doors.
Use Warmer Bedding
It’s the obvious solution: When nature turns down its thermostat, it’s time to turn up the heat on your bed. Just like with cold-weather clothing, heavier layers of bedding will keep you warmer. So swap out those percale or sateen sheets for flannel, and top them with a warm blanket and a down-filled (or down-substitute) comforter or duvet.
You can also add an electric blanket for extra warmth, though you must keep a plugged-in blanket on top and not layered underneath a comforter or duvet. Placing items on top of the electric blanket can cause it to overheat and potentially burn you or become a fire hazard. (Also note that electric blankets generally aren't recommended for young children, as the wiring and controllers can be a safety issue.) If you get very cold, consider an electric mattress pad, which is made to warm up your whole bed from underneath the sheets.
Reverse the Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are a great way to reduce energy usage during any time of the year. In the summer, the counterclockwise rotation creates a cooling breeze that’s a treat on muggy, hot days and nights. But once the winter months roll around, it’s time to reverse your fan’s rotation to clockwise. (Most ceiling fans have a switch on the fan’s base that sets the rotational direction.) That way, the fan’s blades will pull warmer air from the ceiling and push it lower into the room—right where you need it.
Take advantage of your seasonal fan adjustment to wipe down the blades as well; they are a prime spot for dust buildup. Just slip a pillowcase over each blade, and then slide the fabric to the end of the blade. The collected dust remains inside the pillowcase instead of drifting down over your bedroom.
Try a Space Heater
Many sleep experts suggest that 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for sound sleep. If your bedroom dips below that, you can warm things up a bit without turning on the central heat by using a space heater. When choosing a portable heater, look for one that is suitably sized for your room. And place it far enough from the bed, so there is no chance of bedding coming in contact with the device.
You’ll also want to play it safe with the cord. Don’t stretch it across your bedroom escape route in case of emergency (or nighttime bathroom visits). And make sure the heater has a safety feature that turns it off automatically if it tips over or overheats. As with electric blankets, portable heaters are fine in an adult's bedroom, but they should not be used unsupervised in a child’s room.
Wear Socks and a Knit Hat
If your significant other likes it on the cool side but you’re shivering at night, warm yourself up by slipping on thick socks before climbing between the sheets. That way, you won't have to argue over how warm to make the room with other methods. As a bonus, you’ll sleep better when your feet are warm. Also, add a knit cap to keep your head cozy. After all, there’s a reason those old-time illustrations show people sleeping in long, pointed caps, though today’s sleeping hats are likelier to be beanies. Either way, you’ll feel warmer and sleep tighter.
Move Your Bed Away From the Window
If your bed is normally positioned right under a window, you can sleep a little warmer by moving it to the other side of the room away from windows. Unless your windows are multi-paned (and even if they are in very cold areas), the glass will cool down considerably during the night, thus cooling the inside air near that window. As a result, you will feel colder as well if you are in the vicinity. The same can be said for exterior walls with poor insulation.
Lay Down a Thick Area Rug
While hard flooring, such as wood or laminate, has many benefits, warmth is not one of them. So do yourself a favor, and lay down a thick area rug during the cold months to help insulate your bedroom and give your feet a warm treat when it’s time to crawl out of your snug bed. A faux sheepskin rug not only adds a hefty dose of style, but it's also the ultimate in warm coziness on your feet. But any type of rug will add some level of warmth to the floor.
Cover the Windows
Because outside temperatures transfer through the window glass, you can insulate your bedroom a bit by switching to insulated or heavier window coverings during the wintertime. Cover up your blinds or switch out those lightweight sheers with heavy, lined drapes. Choose a cheery color to chase away some of the winter gloom while you’re at it. Plus, if your windows let in a lot of heat during the summer, insulated window treatments can help with that, too.
Use a Hot Water Bottle or Bed Heater
It may be old school, but it works: Slip a hot water bottle under the sheets when it’s time for bed, and let your tootsies revel in the warmth. You can also do a more modern take on a hot water bottle with a bed heater. A bed heater blows air right under your sheets and can heat the entire bed in minutes. They are relatively expensive, but they save money and energy compared to turning up your home's thermostat.