Sleep Temperature Matters
Do you ever remember being too hot to sleep? Remember when the A/C wasn't working during that one record-breaking summer heatwave?
It turns out that temperature plays a role in how well we sleep, and it's not limited to summer. Heavy comforters, high heat settings and other sleep environment factors contribute to the temperature, and consequently, the quality of our sleep.
Optimal Body Temperature During Sleep
According to researchers, the optimal body temperature for sleep is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 2-3 degrees lower than average ambient room temperature. For those who prefer to slumber under a pile of blankets, even lower room temperatures are suggested — down to 60.5 degrees F.
According to UC Berkley neuroscientist, Matthew Walker, “If our core temperature is too high the brain cannot easily make the switch from being awake to being asleep, or create the best quality sleep."
Tips to Keep the Temperature On Point
So how do we drop temperatures and ensure consistent temperature drops at night?
Here are a few tips:
- The first step in changing your sleep temperature is to use atmospheric controls. Turn thermostats and heaters to a few degrees lower than the target 65-degrees before bed. Smart thermostats make this easy, and can often program themselves after a few nights. But that's only part of the equation.
- Cut down on activities that increase your body temperature near bed time. A run before bed is clearly a bad choice, but even cleaning activities that require elbow grease like scrubbing dishes and mopping should be avoided before sleep. Get those things done earlier and reduces stress with more relaxed chores before bed.
- One big warm blanket may be comfortable as you first slip into bed, but this can cause heat build-up. When you shrug it off in the night, you're moving from hot to cold too quickly for comfort. Using a thicker sheet and thinner blanket allows you to peel back the hottest layer without the shock of cold.
- Your body produces heat as you sleep – some of us more than others. In order to ensure a consistent temperature throughout the night, use temperature-regulating bedding. Look for sheets, pillowcases, mattress covers and blankets made with fabrics that include heat dissipating fabrics. These materials feature improved temperature transmission, so they reduce heat concentration throughout the night and help ensure consistent comfort.
Check out this infographic for more on sleep temperature.