It’s one of those matters where everyone seems to have a personal preference: some like sleeping in a cold room with lots of blankets; others in a warm room with a thin sheet.
But it turns out that there is an ideal temperature to produce the best night’s sleep, and helping your body maintain it may be more important than you think.
A 2016 study found that temperature had a greater effect on sleep quality than light. In other words, your body can more easily adjust to having a little too much light in your bedroom than it can to a bedroom that’s just a little too hot. But why?
While we often think of the body temperature as a steady 98.7 degrees, our temperatures actually rise and fall a bit throughout the day. This fluctuation is most noticeable in the hours when we’re sleeping: as you start to wind down in the evenings, your core body temperature decreases in preparation for sleep.
This cooling continues throughout the night as you move through normal sleep cycles. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most people hit their coolest temperatures around 5 am, and then warm again slightly as they prepare to wake.
If the temperature in your room is on the cooler side, your body has an easier time staying at the temperature it needs to sustain deep sleep. If the room is too warm or cold, your body will use its own methods to try to keep you at the right temperature: if you get too hot, it sweats; if you get too cool, it shivers. This is normal and healthy, but disruptive, says the National Sleep Foundation.
The foundation also says that the best temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees, though that’s intended to be a flexible estimate. Most people will find their ideal sleep temperature between sixty-five and sixty-nine degrees, says Dr. Rachel Salas, MD, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University, in an interview with Men’s Health.
And while it might be easiest to set the thermostat and forget it, there are also ways to keep a bedroom cool without relying on costly air conditioning.
Pulling the window shades down during the day helps keep the resting temperature of the room low even as the sun hits its hottest point, and shortens the time needed for cool-down at night. And when the outdoor air temperature has cooled down, open the windows to get one of the nicest ingredients for a good night’s sleep: a cool breeze.
Featured image: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock
Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.