Friday, February 3, 2012

The Cheapest Bed Warmer

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow again yesterday, so we are in for six more weeks of winter.  One adjustment people are making on Hubbert's Mesa is turning down the thermostat to save money as energy prices rise. We bundle up as we move around during the day and pile on the blankets at night.  However, the transition as we get into a cold bed can be jarring.

While this is mainly a matter of comfort, this is a practical matter too; you can waste a lot of time trying to fall asleep when you are too cold.  Many solutions have been devised: electric blankets, hot water bottles, metal contraptions to put hot coals in, even putting blankets in a clothes dryer for a few minutes.

My method is one I haven't seen others use.  I like to lie down on top of my blankets (and pajamas) while I'm fully dressed.  For 20 to 30 minutes, I'll read, listen to podcasts, play with my latest iThingy, or type on my laptop.  Then I'll quickly change for bed and get under the covers while they're still warm and cozy.

This is nothing major.  But this solution is almost totally free (since I would spend my time doing those things anyway.)  It is just another example of putting your pants on both legs at the same time.  Small changes in behavior can be simpler and more effective than complicated technical solutions.

The more creatively we can solve our problems, the easier the Long Ascent will be.


  1. Excellent! I literally was thinking while reading the first two paragraphs, "Well, I just get in bed and read." Then you basically said that. Fantastic. I don't always do that, but I often will get under the covers and start reading or sometimes using my laptop, as I'm doing right now {not advisable to use your laptop right before bed--staring at a screen really effects your ability to go to sleep) and by the time I'm ready to go to sleep, it's comfy warm. And I'm well aware of that challenge, living in a yurt during the winter!

    I do find the idea of hot water bottles interesting, though. I read about that recently--possibly in Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping? I found it really intriguing, as I hadn't been familiar with that method.

    Of The Hands

  2. I'm sure there are many more people who just get in bed and read, I'm just not privy to their bedroom habits. That is kind of the point: we need to share our good habits more, because small changes in behavior can make a big difference. Heating up your entire house so you can be comfortably warm when you go to bed can take a lot of energy.

    I'm not particularly fond of reading after I get under the covers, mainly because I do not have a good reading light. I have to get up to turn the light off. Of course, if I'm changing in to my pajamas too, that's not a problem.

    That's an interesting point about laptops, I'll have to observe more closely. I know for certain that using a laptop does not prevent me from falling asleep. Usually at least a couple times a month I actually fall asleep while I'm still on top of my covers with the laptop still open. On the other hand, probably a little more often I'm up into the middle of the night surfing on my laptop.