What's the Effect of Temperature on Sleep?

Trouble sleeping? Adjust your temperature. Learn how temperature affects your sleep. Improve your sleep by choosing the right ambient temperature.

How Does Temperature Affect Sleep?

In life, there are plenty of things you can't control: the weather or the traffic, to name a couple.

There are many things that affect your sleep that are completely out of your control as well. These things are frustrating and may make sleep difficult. However, there is one thing that you can control when it comes to getting some good shut-eye: temperature.

Numerous studies conclude that the temperature of your room, bed, and body affects your sleep.

How does temperature affect sleep?

Many times, your restlessness when you sleep is a direct result of it being either too hot or too cold. This happens because your body self-regulates external temperatures when they aren’t ideal. Since this takes a lot of hard work, you aren’t resting.

When the external temperature in your room is not the “right” temperature for sleep, your body switches back and forth between sweating to cool you or shivering to warm you up. However, during REM sleep, that is different.

As you enter into the REM stages of sleep, your body's ability to sweat and shiver is impaired. You are forced to adjust to the temperature that surrounds you. As a result, when you come out of REM sleep, you may either be too hot or too cold.

As you start to either sweat or shiver, your sleep is being disturbed.

Ideal Sleep Temperature

Depending on your or your partner's sleeping habits, the most cited temperature for optimal sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you use many pillows or multiple blankets, then you might want to set your thermostat a bit lower than the cited optimal sleep temperature. Likewise, if you prefer fewer coverings, turn the heat up a bit.

Most experts will agree that the best sleep environment is one that is cool, dark and quiet. Your body will naturally start to cool itself as you begin to fall asleep. Therefore, you want to keep your bedroom on the cooler side, rather than on the warmer one.

Cooler air temperature in your room when you are sleeping has been cited in studies to reduce insomnia and restlessness.

Having a thermostat that allows you to adjust the temperature and set it to certain times can help you sleep more deeply and longer. Researchers recommend that lowering your bedroom air temperature can help you fall asleep and having it a bit warmer in the early morning hours before you wake up will help you sleep longer.

Tips to help you achieve the best sleep temperature

  1. Taking a nice hot bath before bedtime is linked to helping you fall asleep faster. The reason for this is that when you get out of a hot bath, your body will immediately start to cool down. Since your body does this at bedtime anyway, the bath will speed up that process.
  2. If you don’t already have one, get a thermostat that is on a timer to allow you to adjust the temperature-based time for optimal sleeping conditions during the different hours.
  3. Investing in a good mattress for ideal sleep is always a good thing to do. When you tend to run hot, a cooling mattress would be perfect for you. If you tend to be cold, a mattress known to trap heat, or a heated mattress pad, will work wonders.
  4. Try experimenting with what you wear to bed and how it affects your sleep. Breathable fabrics like cotton are ideal for sleeping. You want your body to adjust its temperature naturally without feeling as though it is suffocating under thick fabrics like polyester or other synthetic materials.

Many different things affect your sleep that you have no control over. The air temperature of your room and what you wear to bed are things you are in charge of when you head to bed.

You may have never really considered the temperature in your bedroom has such an impact on your sleep, but it does. You want to go to bed at night and wake up rested. Adjusting the temperature is the way to achieve that.

Keeping your room at an optimal temperature for your sleeping habits and natural body temperature will help to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.

Sources—NCBI, Time, BedJet, NCBI