Best Temperature For Sleep
Several factors play into your ability to get a good night’s sleep, but you may not realize how important your bedroom’s temperature is for your sleep quality. Maintaining the appropriate temperature can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, which will improve your sleep quality and, therefore, the quality of your waking hours as well.
Sleep And Temperature
It probably goes without saying that sleep is a vital part of life. It is the period during which our bodies repair themselves and reset, so to speak, for the following day. Poor sleep can seriously impact cognitive functioning and, if extreme enough, could be seriously dangerous. During sleep, our brains clean out waste while constructing and strengthening cellular pathways. These processes are essential for learning and memory and also helps improve concentration and reaction time.
The body’s circadian rhythm regulates the sleeping process. This delicately balanced system works on a 24-hour cycle and tells your body when to sleep and when to wake up. Your body temperature fluctuates and certain hormones are released to prepare your body for sleep throughout the day. While you’re sleeping, your body temperature goes down, allowing you to sleep more comfortably and which also factors into a proper atmospheric temperature for sleeping.
Melatonin is one of the hormones that helps trigger sleep. The body produces it to keep track of information about the time of day, which it gathers through exposure to light and higher temperatures. The body produces more melatonin when it receives signals that it is getting darker or colder. Then, when enough melatonin is present in the body, it will cue tiredness.
Ideal Temperature For High-Quality Sleep
Sleep experts say a room between 60 °F and 67 °F is the best temperature to sleep. Think of your sleep environment like a cave; it should be cool and dark to help your body maintain sleep conditions more easily. Dropping body temperatures cause you to feel drowsy and ready for sleep while rising body temperatures cue your body to be awake and alert. Therefore, it is always a better idea to be in a cooler sleep environment than one that is too warm.
The normal body temperature is 98.6 °F. Throughout the day, your body increases and decreases its core temperature by a few degrees. These changes may seem uncircumstantial to you, but your circadian rhythm is highly reliant on temperature and these few degrees can tell your body a lot. When you wake up, your body’s temperature is low but creeps slightly up until the afternoon, when it starts to drop again in preparation for sleep.
By the evening, your core temperature should be cooler than it was in the morning, even if the external temperature of your surroundings has not changed at all. Your core temperature drops further to initiate sleep.
Your body should be relatively cold to achieve the best sleep. The best sleeping temperature for your body is about 10% lower than your waking temperature. This temperature is nothing to be concerned about, though; it is merely a way that your body conserves energy while you are asleep, thus making it possible for you to wake up feeling energized.
What If Your Bedroom Is Too Hot?
If you are the kind of person, who can wear a sweater in the summer and still feels like there is a bit of a nip in the air, a bedroom set to 60 °F might sound downright arctic. Don’t worry! There are still plenty of ways to stay cozy while giving your body the sleep environment it needs.
SEE ALSO: Best Weighted Blankets
It may seem a little obvious, but bundling up with plenty of blankets can help keep you comfy while your A/C runs. If you like to be toasty to fall asleep, layers of blankets can help you fall asleep, but they are easy to kick off in the middle of the night if you start to get too warm.
You may also have an easier time falling asleep in a cooler bedroom if you put on a pair of socks. Keeping your feet (and hands) warm conserves precious energy that your body uses throughout the night. Your extremities are so far away from your heart that it is a little bit harder to heat them, especially when your heart rate is slowed while you sleep. Socks actually also work to cool down the rest of your body as the warmth in your feet causes your blood vessels to dilate, therefore slowing your blood pressure and cooling your core down. So go ahead, keep your socks on!
If you have little ones, it is important to note that this may be a bit too cold for them. Doctors recommend that babies sleep in an environment that is between 65 °F and 70 °F. So, if your baby sleeps in their own room, keep it slightly warmer. If you co-sleep with your child, perhaps try to meet in the middle and set the room to 65 °F so you can both sleep soundly.
How To Keep Your Room Cool
If, on the other hand, you are someone who wears shorts in the snow and questions all the funny looks you get from strangers, 60 °F in your bedroom might still make you sweat. If you are a particularly hot sleeper, or perhaps you are going through menopause and experiencing hot flashes, fear not; we’ve got some tips for you too.
First and foremost, make sure your sleeping environment is working to cool you down. Of course, this starts with adjusting your thermostat, but you should also take a peek under the sheets. You might want to consider a mattress that actively works to cool you down. You should also make sure that your bed linens aren’t trapping your body heat. We recommend going for natural and breathable materials over synthetic ones as these are often much better for temperature regulation and airflow.
If you’ve gotten your bed properly dressed to stay cool, next, you should take a peek at yourself. Wear light-weight and breathable pajamas that will allow your body to get lots of air while you sleep. You could even consider sleeping naked, as some health benefits come with going au naturel.
Allow your body plenty of time before bed to cool down to a temperature that will more easily induce sleep. This means you shouldn’t workout right before bed or take a scalding shower before hopping between the sheets. If you’re having a hard time sleeping, you definitely should consider working out, as it has been proven to have a myriad of sleep benefits, but schedule your time at the gym in the morning or afternoon instead. Baths and showers can also be great for relaxing your body and cooling you down for bed, but they should be taken about an hour or so before bed so that the hot water has had time to evaporate off your skin, helping to cool your body down.
The majority of bodily thermoregulation comes from your head, so your body will be too if your head is hot. Keep your skull cool by putting your pillowcase in the freezer before bed or keeping an ice pack, wet washcloth or glass of ice water nearby when you’re in bed. You can also try a cooling pillow.
What if you don’t have A/C or a reliable way of keeping your room cool at night? Crack open a window or invest in a box fan. Having some breeze blowing through your room will certainly help prevent overheating. Bonus! The sound that fans make while running is a form of pink noise, which can help you sleep more peacefully.
Keep Your Cool
Ultimately, it is all about finding a good balance between hot and cold and knowing your body. If you are looking for easy ways to improve your sleep quality, lowering your bedroom’s temperature between 60 °F to 67 °F could definitely help (as can sleeping on a cooling mattress). How does that old adage go, after all? “If you can’t stand the heat… cool down your bedroom.”
What Happens If You Don’t Sleep At The Ideal Temperature?
If you do not have a diagnosed sleep issue, but you are waking up a lot at night or feel as though your sleep quality is suffering, the solution may be as simple as adjusting your thermostat to find the ideal sleep temperature.
If you wake up feeling exhausted, you may not have gotten enough hours in the sack, or your hours may have just not been as restful as they should have been. Quality and quantity are both critical measurements of your sleep, but quality can be a bit more subjective.
You likely know that sleep experts recommend that adults sleep between 7 and 9 hours per night, but how well you slept during those hours can really make a difference too. It should take you no longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep. Once you are asleep, your sleep should not be disturbed more than once per night. It is incredibly common for folks with certain sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, to have their sleep interrupted dozens of times per night without their knowledge.
Having low-quality sleep does not necessarily mean you have insomnia or another serious sleep disorder. Still, it is worth inquiring with a doctor if you are having a hard time sleeping.