Adjust Your Bedroom's Temperature for A Better Night's Sleep
If insomnia is a problem, maybe your bedroom is too hot or too cold. Both can affect sleep.
Research has shown that the temperature in your bedroom has a profound effect on falling asleep, and staying asleep. It's actually a very simple equation, our circadian rhythm responds to external stimulus, particularly when it's time for us to fall asleep. As temperature fall, our bodies responds by inducing sleep.
Experts agree the temperature of your sleeping area and how comfortable you feel in it affect how well and how long you snooze. Why? “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature -- the temperature your brain is trying to achieve -- goes down,” says H. Craig Heller, PhD, professor of biology at Stanford University, who wrote a chapter on temperature and sleep for a medical textbook. “Think of it as the internal thermostat.”
That mild drop in body temperature induces sleep. Generally, Heller says, “if you are in a cooler [rather than too-warm] room, it is easier for that to happen.” But if the room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up, says Ralph Downey III, PhD, chief of sleep medicine at Loma Linda University.
He explains that the comfort level of your bedroom temperature also especially affects the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage in which you dream.
What’s the Best Temperature for Sleeping?
Recommending a specific range is difficult, Downey and Heller say, because what is comfortable for one person isn’t for another. While a typical recommendation is to keep the room between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, Heller advises setting the temperature at a comfortable level, whatever that means to the sleeper.
There are other strategies for creating ideal sleeping conditions, too. Experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, for instance, advise thinking of a bedroom as a cave: It should cool, quiet, and dark. (Bats follow this logic and are champion sleepers, getting in 16 hours a day.) Be wary of memory foam pillows, which feel good because they conform closely to your body shape -- but may make you too hot. And put socks on your feet, as cold feet, in particular, can be very disruptive to sleep.