As temperatures start to dip, I thought I would start sharing some of my hints and tips to keep warm at night.
First off, I can't sleep if my feet are cold. It's almost painful - I think that's what keeps me awake. So, lately I've been quite bundled up in lots of layers in addition to adding an extra blanket.
We haven't busted out the down comforter yet and probably won't need to if we keep the heat at the new adjusted temp of 62 at night. But Mr. Crunchy has been sleeping back in bed again instead of upright so I may start sneaking it down lower when nobody's looking.
We don't do space heaters or electric blankets, although I do see their merit in allowing the overall house temperature to drop, without you truly freezing yer buns off. Since we don't own either and I'm not inclined to buy them, we use alternative methods instead.
So, do you want to know my secret weapon? I thought you'd never ask.
It's a bed warmer. Last year I researched like the dickens what the best bed warmer for me would be. You see, normally, my husband sleeps really hot so he can't stand extra blankets. I end up putting them on just my side of the bed. Plus he doesn't like flannel sheets very much. So, climbing into a cold bed with cold, cotton sheets isn't exactly comfy.
I thought about a hot water bottle and they come in all fancy sorts of varieties with fuzzy, plushy characters, but I was afraid that it would pop and then I'd be left with water soaking my bed. I know this probably isn't a reasonable fear, but I think a wet bed is worse than a cold bed. Plus, once the water cools down, now you have a cold water bottle. No thanks.
And then there are the microwaveable bed warmers. No, I'm not talking about those gel packs. I'm talking about those kinds that are filled with rice or some sort of other material that holds heat for a little while and conforms to whatever shape you want. Also, another woman has recommended using deer corn as the best filler. But the thought of having to microwave the bejeesus out of the corn to kill off mold spores, eggs and critters wasn't what I was looking for.
Somehow I managed to stumble upon cherry pit bed warmers, which are like the rice ones but filled with, well, cherry pits. Not too surprisingly, it was from Mother Earth News. They have been used for ages to help heat up a bed and, traditionally, have been heated using a warming oven, but they can be put in your oven's warming drawer, or popped into the microwave. Now, why would I choose cherry pits over rice or another filler? Well, they hold heat for a lot longer - upwards of 2+ hours in my experience. And, it smells like cherry pie when you heat it. I must admit it is a bit noisy, but well worth it.
When I was in the market for one, I wanted to make my own, but didn't have a sewing machine or the skills, so I bought one (see fancy leopard print one above). However, it's incredibly easy to make your own. Since I'm sure you don't have several pounds of cherry pits lying about, you can buy sanitized pits in bulk from The Cherry Pit Store.
To make a heating pad, just sew a natural fabric bag into whatever size you want and fill halfway up with cherry pits. Sew it shut and heat in the microwave no more than 2-3 minutes until hot. You can make a cover for it or you can just hand wash it by sliding the pits to one side, washing the cover and the sliding them to the other side and washing that side. You can also put it in the washing machine (but don't do this with corn or rice bags!).
The only caveat is that the cherry pits are expensive. So, if cost is an issue, then use rice or cleaned deer corn.
And, if you want to read more than you ever wanted about making your own microwaveable bed warmer, check out the deer corn lady's site.