When it comes to sleep, humans are rather peculiar creatures – we like everything just right. This includes the time, the fluffiness of the pillows, how much light is in the room, and… the temperature. Yes, most people need the temperature in their bedrooms to be absolutely perfect before they can slip off into the land of nod. The problem is, of course, that few people can seem to agree on what this magic number is. In fact, one of the main things that sleeping partners argue about is what to set the temperature at. So, to get a more definitive answer on this, we delve into what the ideal temperature for sleeping is:
The Short Answer
The truth is that when it comes to the matter of the best sleeping temperature is, there isn’t necessarily one right answer. This is because there are so many different factors that come into play here. However, if you are really pushing for an answer, 65 degrees Fahrenheit seems to be a common conclusion. Bearing that in mind, most experts would agree that there is no such thing as one perfect temperature as many people seem to find that between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is the most comfortable range.
The Long Answer
If you are looking to narrow down this answer, then you need to take a look at the various elements that will impact this so-called ideal temperature. Here are just some of the things you will need to think about, depending on your sleeping situation:
Why Is It Important to Maintain the Right Temperature for Sleep?
If you are wondering why your body is being so fussy about the temperature, you will be happy to know that there is a reason. It has to do with the way that your body regulates its temperature. Although you may not realize it, your body’s natural temperature changes throughout the day and is on a 24-hour cycle. This means that you are probably your warmest at some time during midday and are at your lowest temperature at around 5 a.m. in the morning.
So what does this cycle have to do with your slumber? Well, you feel sleepiest when your body temperature begins to lower. This is because your body is losing more heat than it is producing. This means that, on average, people find it easier to fall asleep in cooler rooms rather than warmer ones.
If your body is not able to disperse heat at the rate at which it is supposed to, you will find it quite difficult to fall asleep straight away. The same thing applies to anyone sleeping in an overly warm room – not being able to get cool will prevent you from falling asleep. It’s not just about falling asleep, either. A room that is too warm will not allow you to sleep as soundly as you should and you will not feel well rested the next day.
Does Age Affect Your Ideal Bedtime Temperature?
If you have children or very senior people living with you, you should be aware that does tend to be some difference in their ideal temperatures. This is largely due to the fact that infants, toddlers, and the elderly regulate their body temperature.
The perfect sleeping temperature for babies is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It is actually really important that the room in which your infant is sleeping in isn’t too hot. Research suggests that babies who sleep in overly warm rooms are at a higher rate for succumbing to SIDS.
The safe sleeping temperature for toddlers is essentially the same as with infants. Here, too, it is vital that your toddler sleeps in a slightly cooled room. As in with the case of babies, you should have a thermostat so that you can check the temperature of the room.
The perfect elderly sleep temperature, on the other hand, is a bit different to this. As you may have noticed, seniors tend to feel colder since their body doesn’t generate as much heat as everyone else’s. Due to this, older people may actually fall asleep better, if the temperature of the room was actually warmer. It can be difficult to pinpoint this precise number as it can vary from person to person. As long as the temperature is below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, there shouldn’t be an issue.
Does Gender Affect Your Ideal Sleep Temperature?
It should come as no surprise that the ideal sleep temperature for men and women vary. After all, in daily life, it is not uncommon to see women complaining of the cold in an environment that men feel completely comfortable in. The main reason for this phenomenon is largely due to the difference in resting rate.
On average, men tend to have a higher resting metabolic rate. Because many men have a higher body mass than women, their body involuntarily produces more body heat.
As a result, they feel quite toasty which is why they prefer rooms to be cooler. Women, on the other hand, don’t produce as much which is why they feel colder more easily.
So, it is quite likely that the room will need to about two or three degrees warmer for a woman to feel more comfortable than her male counterpart. This means that a woman would need the room to be slightly warmer for her to be able to fall asleep more easily.
Ideal Room Temperature for Sleeping When Sick
Deciding on a comfortable temperature when you are sick can be a bit tricky when you are sick. This is because your body tends to alternate between feeling cold and warm. Therefore, it is no wonder that you may want to know is it better to sleep in a cold or warm room when sick?
If you are running a fever, it may be helpful to have the room temperature slightly lower than normal. This can help to reduce your temperature a little but this does depend on what you find to be most comfortable. Typically, though, you will find that you don’t actually need to make any changes to the room temperature while you are sick. So, as long as you keep the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, you should find it easier to fall asleep.
Clothing and Bedtime Body Temperature
A large majority of the people wear pajamas or a similar form of clothing to bed. This raises the question, do the clothes that you wear have an impact on your body temperature and as a result, your sleep patterns?
Clothing, particularly the type of clothing that you are wearing, effects your body temperature. Cotton, for instance, which is usually the most common option is good for keeping you cooler in warmer months as it helps air to circulate around your body. At the same time, it does tend to absorb water easily, making it a poor choice if you sweat a lot.
If you do happen to sweat quite a lot, you should consider investing in moisture wicking fabric as this allows the water to evaporate faster. In turn, this makes it easier for your body to regulate its own temperature. Bamboo is actually an excellent natural moisture-wicking fabric.
If you want a material that will help to facilitate your natural body temperature, silk is actually a perfect material. It regulates temperature well, allowing you to feel cool when the room temperature is warm and toasty when the ambient temperature is cold. Of course, this material is quite pricey and incredibly high maintenance for most people.
In the winter, it can be difficult to regulate your own temperature enough to keep you warm. This is why clothing made of flannel can help you to stay more comfortable. Although fleece and wool are popular choices, they are actually rather counteractive and can actually disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
Interestingly enough, there is a lot of research that supports sleeping in the nude, if the weather allows it. This makes it easy for your body to naturally regulate its warmth, ensuring that you are at the perfect temperature for sleeping.
Room Temperature and Metabolism
The temperature of the room that you are sleeping in can also impact your metabolism in a positive way. A study done on this particular subject showed that people who slept in temperatures around 66 degrees Fahrenheit experienced around a 10 percent increase in metabolic fat activity.
It is interesting to note the specific way in which your sleep temperature metabolism can increase. In your body, there are two types of fat – white fat and brown fat. The white fat is what accumulates when there is an excess of calorie consumption and it is stored as fat. Brown fat, on the other hand, is what burns energy so that you can maintain your body’s proper temperature.
When you sleep in a colder room, your body has to work harder to bring your temperature back up where it needs to be. This is why your metabolism increases. What’s more, the brown fat in your body increases which could be due to the fact that the white fat begins to take on traits of brown fat. So, sleeping in a mildly cold room could improve your health.
There, however, is a caveat – you shouldn’t find the room unbearably cold. If you do, then your body will not be able to sleep peacefully. This means that you will not get as much sleep as you need which could prove to be unhealthy in the long run.
What If You Are Sleeping Outdoors?
If you enjoy the occasional camping trip, then you have to think about creating the ideal temperature while you are outdoors. Since you are at the mercy of seasonal temperatures and don’t have a heater or air conditioner on your trips, this can be a bit tricky. So, let’s look at two extreme environments and how you can still feel comfortable in them:
Sleeping Outdoors When It’s Warm
Although it may be tempting to sleep in as little as possible, when the temperature gets quite high, you also have to think about bugs and other creepy crawlies. Instead, sleep in lighter materials that are designed to wick moisture away from your body.
You may also want to ditch the tent and hang a tarp from trees if the temperature is unbearable. Of course, you still need a sleeping bag so you should opt for a rectangular shaped one with as little insulation as possible.
Sleeping Outdoors When It’s Cold
When it is cold, you have a bit more to worry about as it can get quite dangerous when the temperature begins to drop. In this case, you need to pay attention to the temperature rating that is available with most of the sleeping bags that you want to buy. These feel often be described as a 30-degree bag. This basically means that the sleeping bag will keep you warm as long as the temperature doesn’t go below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are sleeping in a mild climate, you will find that +10°F to +30°F bags are more than adequate. If you will be sleeping outdoors in the wintertime, you should look for one that is rated below +10°F.
In case you will be facing some really cold temperatures, you should look for sleeping pads and maybe even sleeping bag liners. These will help to trap the body height that you are giving out inside the bag, keeping you toasty. Of course, dressing warmly and even wearing a hat to bed can help quite a bit.
What About Energy Bills?
Well, it’s one thing to be comfortable while sleeping but it is quite another to be faced with your monthly energy bill. First and foremost, make sure that all of the vents in your home are open. This way, the cool air can dissipate throughout the space and your AC unit will not have to work as hard. You may also want to switch to fans instead of using the air conditioning as these can use a lot less energy.
If you are willing to make more of an effort in keeping your energy bills down, check that your home is properly insulated. This way, you don’t have to worry about cold air in the summer or heat in the winter from escaping.
Now, this article has focused on how cool to keep your room so that you fall asleep. Of course, in the winter, you may want it slightly warmer. Here, too, a ceiling fan can help the heat that is circulating around your ceiling to move about. Just make sure that it is spinning in a clockwise direction in the winter.
Activities That Affect Your Bedtime Body Temperature
As mentioned, when going to sleep, you are going to want to keep your body temperature a little lower than throughout the rest of the day. This will signal to your body that you are ready to go to bed and you will find it easier to fall asleep.
There are actually a number of things that can boost your temperature, making sleep just a little harder to come by. These activities include drinking coffee, exercising, and taking a cold shower before you go to bed. These should be all done early on in the day so that your body has plenty of time to cool down afterward.
One thing that you should consider doing, however, to lower your body temperature is to take a warm bath or a warm shower about two hours before your bedtime. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is actually not. While the hot bath may initially warm your body up, it also triggers a rapid cooling down process once you are done. So, when your bedtime rolls around, your body will be sufficiently cooled.
How to Sleep In a Hot Room
Now, there may come a time when you are forced to sleep in an incredibly hot room and don’t have an air conditioner to cool you down. Now, if you are lucky, you may have a fan that you can use. To make the fan a little more effective, fill a large bowl with ice cubes and place it in the direction that the fan is blowing in. This way, the air that will be circulating around will be a bit cooler.
If you don’t even have a fan to keep you cool, you can try placing a damp towel on your feet or around other parts of your body. This can help to lower your body temperature. If you are in a bit of a DIY mood, you can even have a makeshift hammock so that the air circulates all around you and is not impeded by a hammock.
You could also opt for a slightly smaller pillow as it will trap less heat around your head. Your head is a bit more sensitive to changes in temperature so if it feels cooler, there is a good chance that you will feel more comfortable, overall.
How to Sleep In a Cold Room
The other issue would be how to fall asleep in a very cold room when it is too cold to sleep. Well, in this case, it is all about dressing warmly and covering yourself up with blankets that help you to keep your body heat trapped around you. It is a good idea to wear socks and a hat to bed as well since this will work to insulate you further.
If you don’t have a proper hot water bottle, just fill any old bottle with hot water and place it under your blanket. Then, once it has warmed up your bed well enough, simply take it out and go to bed. A humidifier can also add some much-needed warmth to the air in your bedroom.
There are a few things that you can do to warm your own body up before going to sleep. This includes doing light exercise. Remember not to overdo it as this can cause your adrenaline to spike and keep you up even later. Drinking a warm drink can also stimulate your own body heat as will eating an easily digestible but high caloric meal.
Now, much of this article has been about how a slightly colder environment will allow you to sleep best. You may wonder if this means that sleeping in a cold room is bad for you or good for you. Well, the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you might imagine. While a cool environment is good, a cold one is not.
One effect of sleeping in a cold room that you should watch out for is shivering. The main issue here is that when your muscles have to contract and loosen to generate body heat. This can end up disrupting your sleep as your body is not able to relax. Of course, in dire circumstances, hypothermia can also become an issue. This can take place when the air temperature drops to below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and forces your body temperature to lower as well.
As you can see, temperature plays an enormous role in determining whether you get a good night’s sleep or not. This is why you should manipulate your surroundings so that you can sleep more peacefully.