If you do not have a diagnosed sleep issue but you find that 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. Because your body’s sleep clock is so intimately linked to your internal temperature, being in a room that is not too hot or too cold can really help your circadian rhythm do its thing more efficiently.
Ideal Temperature For High-Quality Sleep
Sleep experts recommend sleeping in a room that is between 60 °F and 67 °F. 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.
Throughout the course of the day your body increases and decreases its core temperature by a few degrees. This may seem circumstantial 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 high and 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. In order to initiate sleep, your core temperature drops further.
Your body should be relatively cold in order to achieve the best sleep, in fact, your body temperature may reduce by up to 10% while you are sleeping. This is nothing to be concerned about though, it is simply a way that your body conserves energy while you are asleep, thus making it possible for you to wake up actually feeling energized.
That Sounds Pretty Chilly!
We get it, 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 that is set to 60 °F might sound downright arctic. Don’t worry! There are still plenty of ways that you can stay cozy while giving your body the sleep environment it needs.
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 in order 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 actually 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.
I’m Still Too Hot!
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, we have some recommendations on our Best Mattress Lists. 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 air flow.
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 there are some health benefits that 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 if your head is hot, your body will be too. Keep your cranium 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.
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 they are 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. How does that old adage go, after all? “If you can’t stand the heat… cool down your bedroom.”
No matter where you keep the thermostat in your house, if your sleep problems stem from a disorder, the only way to get the sleep you need is with proper diagnosis and treatment. Call Alaska's most comprehensive sleep lab today . Alaska Sleep Clinic will help you improve your sleep AND your life.