Alaska Sleep Education Center

How to Get More Rest Out of Your Sleep

Posted by Paisley Hansen on Oct 17, 2019 12:54:00 PM

Portrait of beautiful woman reading book by fireplace

Too many of us take sleep for granted. There are whole social media communities that pride themselves on “Team No-Sleep,” but sleep is a great thing! It is the time our body gets the rest it needs. No matter what age we are, sleep is essential.

It’s a good idea to make your sleeping space cozy, but a good night’s sleep is going to depend on more than purchasing comfy mattresses. Room temperature plays a significant role in our quality of sleep, too. Science has concluded: the colder the room, the better.

Take some time to consider the environment of your room. How does it feel? Is there a draught or a breeze, or is it stuffy and damp? Do you wake up with night sweats, or have trouble falling asleep because of cold feet? Temperature not only affects how easily we can fall asleep but how long we remain asleep as well.

The duration of our sleeping affects the quality of our sleep, personally and in everyday dealings. Keeping the temperature moderate and comfortable helps your body manage the changes that occur in your body through the night.

A run-down of the sleep stages and how they affect body temperature

There are different stages of sleep, each with a different effect on your body’s temperature.

Stage 1

This stage is likely what you achieve during cat-naps. Although the eyes are closed, you can still be easily aroused and may feel un-rested or more sluggish. This stage generally lasts less than ten minutes. Your body is aware of the temperature around it, so if the settings are not comfortable, you will spend more time waiting for the sandman.

Stage 2

In the second stage, the heart rate slows, and your body temperature drops. The body is preparing to sleep, and the brain’s automatic function of regulating body temperature is preparing to turn off. Because we spend the majority of the sleep cycle in this stage, your environment needs to be comfortable to increase the chances you can stay asleep. You aren’t consciously aware of the temperature during this stage. A colder room, then, can prevent night sweats.

Stage 3

The deep sleep -- the one we’re all aiming for when we lay down for our reset -- is called REM sleep. It gets its name as a result of “rapid eye movement” activity, when our brain is more active than during waking hours. During REM sleep, your body temperature has likely dropped about 2-3 degrees. A cold room will maintain the body’s resting state.

What happens to your body when you sleep

Parents sleeping in bed with their cute twins

Before you fall asleep, your body releases melatonin, which is a chemical that tells the body it’s time to go to sleep. As this happens, the body loses heat. Colder conditions create an environment that communicates a time for rest to the rest of your body. It can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep if the room is too warm.

While we are in a deep sleep, our bodies are subject to the conditions surrounding it. When you’re cozied comfortably under the covers of a cold, dark room, your body achieves relaxation and sleepy conditions.

What temperature should your room be?

Ideally, the environment in your bedroom should be cold, dark, and airy. Countless sleep studies are in agreement that a room temperature of 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (16-18 degrees Celsius) is the most comfortable setting for optimal sleep.

Consider keeping your windows open in the summer months. Fresh air and the night breeze might be just the ticket to a peaceful snooze. Colder settings induce sleep. A room that is too warm can disrupt your slumber once you hit REM sleep.

Age is a factor to pay attention to, as well. As we get older, our body loses its ability to conserve heat, so don’t be surprised if you notice adjustments to your room’s temperature at bedtime over the years. An elderly adult may be comfortable sleeping in a warmer room that the average adult would find uncomfortable.

To keep the room’s temperature consistently cool, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. Take advantage of the perks of living in a digital era and let technology work for you. You can pre-set the controls to ensure it feels perfectly cold when you’re ready for bed. Set it and forget it-style, the thermostat can maintain a comfortably cool room in the case of a shift in the night air. Without waking you out of slumber, the room stays cold, and you stay asleep.

Proper bedding and a cold room are sleeper’s paradise

Another thing that happens while you’ve drifted off to La La Land is the blanket and excess sheets practically become insulation. When your body releases its heat, the heat gets trapped under the covers until you wake up in the middle of the night, kicking them off.

Bedding should not be so thick that it traps heat inside and creates and warms you body in the process. Now understanding how colder temperatures make our body sleepy, it makes sense that when you’re warm you feel uncomfortable, making sleep more challenging. Cool bed settings can aid in keeping the chill just right.

Bedding is a big deal if you’re sleeping in a cooler room. Your body needs to remain comfortable to cycle through the sleep stages properly. In case your bed does get too warm, there is a wide selection of cooling bed sheets on the market now. These were formulated with unique technology for a temperature-controlled bed. Thread count conversations can get confusing. The next time you're looking for new sheets, remember breathable fabrics like bamboo microfiber do a great job at staying cool. They also feel pretty refreshing in a cold room, especially in the summertime.

Keep it cold. Feel your best

Sleep is critical to our overall health and has a big impact on how well we tackle the day. Suffering from a lack of sleep can cause grogginess, irritability, and affect performance levels.

You need optimal rest to perform your best and feel your best, but if your bedroom is too warm, it could be putting a damper on the length and quality of your sleep. You are much more likely to enjoy a full night’s sleep of uninterrupted rest in a cold room with adequate bedding.

Doing so will help you stay asleep longer so you can reap the fantastic benefits that sleep has to offer.

However, there are sleep problems that cannot be solved without proper diagnosis and treatment by a sleep specialists. Alaska Sleep Clinic is here to help you improve your sleep, thus improving your entire life.  Call us today for a free phone consultation.

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Topics: bedroom, colds, hot, comfortable bed

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