Perfect Night Sleep Temperature
In the summer months, especially, it can be an ordeal getting to sleep, staying asleep, and feeling refreshed the following morning. Scientists tell us that optimum sleeping temperature is around 65°F, due to the human body lowering its core temperature throughout its sleeping cycle. Young children’s bodies might require a slightly higher temperature, but only by a few degrees. Here are some useful answers to some commonly asked questions.
1. Is It Better To Sleep In The Cold Or Warm?
The answer to this question is, ‘Neither’, the optimum temperature being around 65°F. If your room is significantly above this then your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) or ‘slow-wave’ sleep might decrease; this can include humidity as well as actual temperature per se. On the other hand, for those who sleep with few or no clothes on, they can be more sensitive to colder room temperature. A colder room won’t affect your REM in the same way as a hotter room, but it might make it slightly harder to get to sleep, and may even affect your body’s cardiac autonomic response (your heart’s activity), which is certainly something to bear in mind.
2. What Is Comfortable Room Temperature?
As mentioned, 65°F is about the right temperature for you to sleep well, due to the internal temperature regulation of your body. You may have heard of something called the circadian rhythm; this is when your body naturally reduces its core temperature during the time when it wants you to go to bed. It continually cools itself down until the following dawn; around 5 or 6 am, depending on where you live. The blood vessels in your skin expand; in fact, your feet and hands might feel a little warmer to start with, due to the body emitting heat through them, in a kind of natural venting operation!
3. What Happens When The Room Temperature Is Not Right?
When your room is too cold your body’s natural circadian rhythm will be affected, ie. it won’t go down as much and as a consequence, you’ll find it harder to drift off into sleep. When your room is too hot, the body will struggle to decrease its temperature sufficiently, so you might end up tossing and turning for significant periods throughout the night.
4. What Can I Do?
In order to keep your room at that sweet spot of between 60 and 67°F throughout the night, and ensure you’re primed for high-quality sleep, here are some simple steps you can take:
- Keep your home’s thermostat a bit higher throughout the day, then let it cool during the night.
- Ensure windows are open on a warm summer’s evening before night falls.
- Use air conditioning (best window air conditioner) if it gets too hot at night, or have a thermostat installed in your bedroom so that it switches off or on automatically, in response to the temperature change.
- Change bedding in accordance with the seasons; cotton and linen are best in those sticky summer months. A lightweight blanket can be used for those in-between months, or an extra blanket may come in useful, depending on the month.
- At the height of summer, you might put an ice pack actually inside your pillow. This can ensure that you keep a cool head on a hot night.
- Avoid caffeine after ‘noon’ – it takes longer to drain from your system than you might think. Keep hydrated, though, through selected non-caffeinated options; there are plenty available.
- Keep your room as dark as possible; invest in a blackout window covering or thicker curtains if you need to; uninterrupted sleep makes it a worthwhile investment.
- Minimize your exposure to a tv screen, iPhone screen, computer monitor, or even an e-book reader; the blue-light emitting screens, or any other screens, won’t do you any favors and will keep your brain awake. Book reading, prayer, meditation or face-to-face conversations are more conducive to your body’s natural powering-down operation.
- Ensure you have the best cooling mattress (best mattress).
- Try to make your bedroom as quiet a place as possible; earplugs or a white noise machine might help if you live in a busy, urban apartment complex.
- Routines should be adhered to; your body’s circadian rhythm will have its own schedule but our busy modern lifestyles aren’t always in tune with it – the more they are the better. The ideal mindset is to think about sleeping when it’s dark and think about arising when it’s light. Of course, this isn’t completely realistic but any moves in that direction are likely to result in a fuller and more refreshing night’s sleep.
Overall, maintaining an optimum temperature, avoiding sleep-depriving substances, adjusting your lifestyle so that it harmonizes more intuitively with your natural body clock, and filtering out as many noise and light distractions as possible, are all likely to improve the quality of your sleeping experience. If this happens then your daylight movements and interactions will improve immeasurably, and you’ll be far less likely to be unproductive and caffeine-dependent.