Finding the best temperature to sleep in is 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.
So, what’s the best temperature to sleep in? Read on to find out!
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How Does a Warm Room Affect Sleep?
A warm room may make people more restless throughout the night by interfering with their body’s natural “dip” in temperature. In fact, research has linked some forms of insomnia with temperature regulation issues: People whose core temperature remains warm may feel too alert to fall asleep.
Everyone has a slightly different optimal temperature for sleep, so experts recommend experimenting to see what works for you. If you don’t have an air conditioner in your bedroom, consider getting a fan or sleeping with a lighter coverlet. If you really struggle with being too hot at night, certain mattresses, sheets, and pajamas are designed with cooling properties.
And while it might be easiest to set the thermostat and forget it, there are alternative 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.
How Does a Cool Room Affect Sleep?
One study found that insomniacs wearing a cooling cap slept nearly as well as people without any sleep issues. But don’t make the mistake of keeping your room too cold, either.
If you’re cold enough to be shivering, your sleep will suffer. To combat cold sleeping, try wearing thick socks or using a heavier blanket!
How Does the Body Regulate Temperature?
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.
What Is the Best Temperature to Sleep In?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 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 65 and 69 degrees, says Dr. Rachel Salas, MD, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University, in an interview with Men’s Health.
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.
[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]
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