What is the Best Temperature for Sleep Health?
A good night’s rest can be affected by sleeping in too hot or too cold of a room
Some people love to crank the heat in their bedrooms because they “sleep cold” while others lower the temperature because they “sleep hot.” Which category do you fall into when it comes to sleeping?
Things get even trickier if you share a bedroom with another person who does not have the same sleep style as you. However, even if you share a bedroom, it is possible to find a sweet spot that is comfortable for each of you while also making sure you are getting the best sleep possible.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “a bedroom temperature between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit helps promote sleep.” And a sleep psychologist from Cleveland Clinic, Michelle Drerup, PsyD, says you should think of your bedroom as your ‘cave.’ “It should be cool, dark, and quiet to enhance your sleep.”
How does temperature affect sleep
A study published on the National Library of Medicine’s website states, “The stereotypical effects of heat or cold exposure are increased wakefulness and decreased rapid eye movement sleep and slow wave sleep. These effects of the thermal environment on sleep states are strongly linked to thermoregulation, which affects the mechanism regulating sleep.”
Basically, your sleep is at a higher risk of being interrupted if your bedroom becomes too cold or hot.
Sleeping too hot
Most experts agree that if the temperature of your bedroom is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it can increase your body temperature which can undo the sleep initiation process and make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep.
The core temperature of our body naturally decreases as part of the sleep initiation process. We may like snuggling up under the covers and feeling nice, warm, and cozy but increasing your core body temperature will increase the chance of restlessness and you’ll most likely have more trouble falling and staying asleep.
Sleeping too cold
Just as most experts agree a bedroom temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit is too hot, most agree below 60 degrees is too cold.
While sleeping in a cold room may not affect you as much as sleeping in a hot room, it can still lead to its own set of health issues.
As our core body temperature drops, our body naturally wants to get us warm again. Our breathing becomes shallow, and our body constricts blood vessels to get our core body temperature regulated. This puts extra stress and pressure on our cardiovascular system.
What is the ideal temperature for babies, toddlers, and the elderly
Babies and toddlers have a more difficult time regulating the temperatures of their bodies so sleeping on the warmer end of the spectrum are more ideal for their smaller bodies.
The temperature best for sleeping for toddlers and babies tends to be a little higher, between 65- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit.
If you think your child may be too hot while sleeping, simply feel their stomach or the back of their neck to see if their skin is sweaty. If so, you can decrease the temperature slowly or remove a layer of clothing until you find the perfect temperature for your child.
Elderly adults tend to do best within the range of other adults, however, as we age our core body temperature naturally lowers and we see a decrease in cortisol and melatonin hormones which means you may need to adjust your sleeping temperature a bit outside that range.
If you are elderly and experiencing issues sleeping, speak with your doctor to see if changing the temperature of your bedroom outside that range could help get you back to a good night’s rest.
Other ways to increase getting a good night’s rest
While figuring out what temperature is optimal for your bedroom is important, there are other things you should be mindful of when it comes to getting a good night’s rest.
- Having a regular sleeping schedule for your body is important. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day, including weekends can help ensure you’re sleeping well.
- Turning off electronics an hour or two before you go to sleep, thus cutting out “blue light,” can help your body increase the levels of melatonin before hitting the sack allowing you to fall asleep quicker.
- Using blackout curtains or shades and making sure to dim any lights from alarm clocks or other electronics can assist in helping you fall asleep.
- Make sure to finish any meals or snacks 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to ensure your body can digest the food before bedtime.
- Smoking, Alcohol, and Caffeine close to bedtime not only make it more difficult to fall asleep but can also cause you to wake up throughout the night.
Avoiding these things as well as finding the optimal sleeping temperature for your body can drastically increase the effectiveness of your body when it comes to sleeping.