June is a hot dry month in northern New Mexico. I have been sleeping with all the windows open while the ceiling fan pulls in the cool night air. My bed is right under a window, and I catch slight breezes on my head. It reminds me of sleeping on my best friend Gail’s screened porch as a kid. Those nights were the high points of each summer!
Do we have to stop sleeping outside as adults? I say no! Here are a few ideas for you to enjoy the night air, sky and sounds without camping out! Make a plan before the nights get humid, still, sticky, and too uncomfortable for sleeping with just a sheet.
Simple and frugal
Just like at Gail’s house, a simple screened porch puts you outside yet away from biting bugs and other critters. Back east, the only way you can be out at night is on a screened porch, so most everybody has one. We slept in sleeping bags on the floor to pretend we were camping. We were ‘roughing it’ next to the patio furniture, but what did we know? We weren’t even 10!
An upgrade would be portable army cots that can be put out once in a while. The porch furniture could easily be rearranged for special nights like this. Use sleeping bags for a camping feel!
A further upgrade would be a couple of daybeds. During the day, they can be used for reading, relaxing, visiting with friends or napping. At night, they could be transformed into comfortable beds for kids and adults.
A porch can be an entire summer living room. Broad, built-in benches with bottom and back cushions can be couch-type seating in front of a coffee table and some easy chairs. Remove the back cushions on the benches for a good-sized sleeping area.
Sleeping right outside
Here in the Rocky Mountains, there are few bugs and little rain to deter outdoor activities. It’s possible to sleep on a deck or portal without interruption and bug spray. I once had a big couch on my back porch, and I spent considerable time on it.
If French doors lead to a deck off the bedroom, put casters on the bed to wheel it outside on nice nights.
String up a sturdy hammock on your porch. This is always fun for the kids, but it’s also a way to get off the floor. Lazy afternoons reading and napping in a hammock are iconic, but there are no rules against sleeping in one for the night!
Away from the house
Whether you need screening or not, you can build a separate structure for sleeping. A platform large enough for a bed and side table seems dreamy to me. Mosquito netting over the bed would add romantic to dreamy as well as being practical.
A gazebo as a focal point in the garden could double as a sleeping area. Make the structure a focal point with a pleasing walkway lined with fragrant night-blooming flowers. A gazebo or a platform could be in special place in the yard under the trees, around the corner of a hedge, or where you can forget about home for a few hours.
Sleeping outdoors will give you a new vantage point for watching the sunrise. Sometimes it’s the small things like a different perspective that can make you feel like you’re on vacation or exploring a new place. It’s refreshing!
Have some fun this summer! Turn off the AC and move outside on hot nights. You won’t lose any sleep in the cool fresh air or by saving electricity!