Best Temperature for Sleep: How It Affects Your Life
Hi! Welcome back to my blog about healthy sleeping and the best products for sleeping. In this article, I would like to tell you about temperatures for sleeping and provide you with essential knowledge for choosing the best temperature for sleep. After reading, you will be able to figure out the ideal room temperature for sleep and adjust your bedtime routines to reach the perfect conditions.
But why temperature is so important when you sleep? In fact, our body is incredibly demanding for this condition. Due to circadian rhythms, our bodies release heat at night to reach the needed low point for conducting important metabolic processes. If you don’t let your organism achieve the aim, your sleep will be disrupted, and the following day will be much more difficult than it could be if the atmosphere was cool or warm enough.
Fortunately, our internal temperature regulation has been thoroughly studied over the last decade. I researched all the latest studies and compared them to my own therapeutic findings. Now I’m ready to give you an actionable guide that will help you to modify your habits and make sleeping provide your body with the needed amount of energy and metabolic effects.
What is The Optimal Room Night Time Temperature
First of all, it’s important to understand that the perfect sleeping temperature is different for everyone. What feels great to one person can mean a spoiled night for another. For example, the most comfortable sleeping temperature for me is 60°F, which is quite chilly compared to the recommended.
While most healthy sleep experts recommend keeping the room at around 65°F (18°C) and not higher than 72°F (22°C), in most cases, this recommendation works out well. However, I’m strongly convinced that you can exceed if you feel the necessity.
Another undeniable fact that influenced our nighttime climate needs is evolution. Our biological clock has been adjusting to lower nighttime temperatures since the dawn of the time. The mechanism of this process is simple.
During warm seasons, the environment heats up under the sunlight, but when the sun goes down, the air and objects start releasing the accumulated heat energy and cool down. Our body follows the same principle to reach the maximal longevity, and let us feel chipper enough to survive in the environment full of threats.
We cannot change what has become a constant in millions of years, so the best way is to learn how to live with it.
How Does our Body Temperature Fluctuate Day and Night
Assuming that you sleep at night and stay awake the whole day long, your body follows circadian rhythms to reach the necessary lowest and highest temperatures throughout the day.
Assuming that we are healthy, our temperatures fluctuate from the lowest set point at around 4 a.m (daybreak) and usually the highest point at around 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Still, the gap between the highest and the lowest points is rather low and usually reaches around 0.9°F (0.5°C). If you exercise regularly, the increase in daily variations is normal.
Our temperature is regulated by multiple hormones. For example, women rhythms change during the menstrual cycle, which is called a circamensal rhythm. After ovulation, the temperature usually rises significantly, while the luteal phase causes the lowest and highest set temperatures to rise slightly.
Daily temperature changes also depend on the time of the year, which is called a circannual rhythm. My comparison of studies conducted in different parts of the world showed that the seasonal change depends on a particular climate type in the region where you live. This includes daily temperatures, atmospheric pressure, traditional nutrition, genetics, and other factors.
Your age also means a lot too. The older you are, the lower your average body temperature and the daily gap between the highest and the lowest set points. However, the importance of comfortable sleeping temperature becomes even higher.
How Bedroom Air Temperature Affects Your Sleep
All mass experiments prove that room temperature affects the quality and length of your nap. Craig Heller, Ph.D., professor of biology at Stanford University, calls body thermal regulation processes an “internal thermostat” that always struggles to achieve the most comfortable state for proper brain and organs functioning.
Our brain always knows what temperature should you sleep at, but, unfortunately, it cannot change the outer climate. That’s why we have to learn to listen and help it to achieve the right set point.
Heller adds that our body is more likely to feel comfortable if the temperature of the environment is cool, but not too cold. In this case, your brain won’t receive stress signals and try to reach the set point. If it’s too cold or too warm, you may be woken up or have a low-quality snooze that can lead to bad mood and poor productivity during the whole day.
Proper climate may also influence the quality of our rapid eye movement (REM) stage during which you see dreams. You’re very likely to see nightmares if the room is too cold or too hot.
How The Surface of a Mattress and Bed Linen Can Affect the Thermoregulation of Our Body
First, let’s figure out how your mattress can affect the thermoregulation. Even if you find the best room temperature for sleeping, a wrong mattress selection may ruin your night, and you may not even notice the reason.
Your mattress must be convenient enough to let your muscles relax, and your spine align. If these goals are not achieved by a thorough selection of a mattress, some of your muscles or even entire groups of muscles can be strained overnight and interfere with thermoregulation.
Continuously strained muscles produce more heat than relaxed fibers. If you know how basic physics work, you’ve already understood that it’s the process of mechanical energy conversion into thermal energy caused by muscle fiber static tension. That’s why you have to be attentive and change your mattress if it doesn’t let you relax. You can find mattress and pillow recommendations on my blog too.
As for bed linen, it can also make your nap hotter and colder, depending on the materials used by the manufacturer. The fact is that rough materials with poor air circulation can result in increased friction between your skin and linen, which is a true way to feel warmer.
You should also avoid linen made of synthetics that aren’t recommended by scientists. Your bedding should consist of soft and smooth materials and provide good air circulation to avoid overheating and sweating.
Temperatures Outside of Comfortable Sleep: Too Hot vs. Too Cold
If it’s too hot during the night, your nap may become restless. This happens because the hot climate causes a decrease of REM, which is highly important for our body and lets it rest good enough to have the needed amount of energy for the following day. If the air is not only hot but also humid, you can be sure to have even more sleep problems.
If the air is too cold and you feel cold during the night, it may be much harder to fall asleep even if you’re tired, as chill is a good way to stay awake longer. According to the US National Library of Medicine, low room temperature isn’t likely to change your sleep cycle. Still, it can lead to alterations in cardiac response, which is rather stressful, especially for older people and babies.
How to Maintain the Optimal Sleeping Temperature in The Bedroom in Winter and Summer
During winter, you have to set up your thermostat properly during the day. While the comfortable daytime setting can be rather high, the nighttime regime should not be lower or exceed 65°F – 72°F.
Modern thermostats let you select automatic regimes so that the temperature changes during the day to make you feel more comfortable without the need to turn knobs every day.
I installed a smart thermostat a few months ago. Now I can adjust it from my phone and set the needed temperature remotely or automate the whole thing.
Next, you should swap linen as seasons change. Use something soft and warm during winter and remove everything excess to induce better heat outflow in the summertime. You can also pick up a pillow with enhanced air circulation.
If your bedroom has windows, I recommend you keep them covered with tight curtains that don’t let too much light in and keep the room cooler than other rooms in your house. In addition, you can use fans for sleeping to achieve an extra cooling effect by continuous air circulation.
I strictly don’t recommend you to sleep with an air conditioner on as it may lead to various problems with mucous membranes and make you feel too cold. It’s better to keep the appliance working during the day and switch it off when you go to bed. If it’s cool enough outside, it’s always better to open windows to let the fresh air in.
What is the Best Temperature to Sleep in for Babies
The difference between baby and adult climate for healthy sleeping doesn’t differ too much. In fact, a properly clothed baby will feel comfortable if the bedroom is between 60°F and 68°F. I don’t recommend you to set the thermostat higher than 70°F as it may make your baby sweat and see nightmares during the night.
Overheating also increases the probability of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If your baby shows that he or she feels cold, you can set the temperature a bit higher. If their skin on the belly and behind the neck is too hot or sweaty, you should remove a layer of clothing instead of lowering the overall temperature in the house.
By the way, you should never keep the baby’s head covered inside the house to provide proper thermoregulation. You can also purchase an infrared thermometer not to disturb your child at night.
It’s important to understand that babies cannot regulate their temperature as well as adults, so a combination of clothes recommended by your doctor and setting the right temperature regime is highly important. If your baby has specific health recommendations, you should follow them first and call or meet your baby’s doctor if you face any problems.
Answers You Need
In this section, I gathered the most frequently asked questions of my readers related to temperature for sleeping. Here you will find brief answers to important questions that may come to your head while reading.
Is it better to sleep in the cold or warm?
The formula is quite simple. You shouldn’t go to bed if it’s too cold as it may result in an altered cardiac response and make you fall asleep slower. If the room is too hot, you will have problems with the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage and may see nightmares and wake up more often.
What temperature is too cold for sleep?
The lowest recommended temperature for your bedroom is 65°F. Still, you are allowed to go below that if you feel the need to do it. Listen to your body response and choose the lowest temperature based on your feelings. However, I don’t recommend going below 60°F as the night may become too chilly, and you may catch a cold.
What is the healthiest temperature to keep your house?
While the temperature in your bedroom should be anywhere between 65°F and 72°F, the recommended house temperature during the day is from 67°F to 78°F. You should also consider your age and health. If you are older and/or your health is poor, it’s better to adjust the thermostat for higher temperatures. However, you should listen to yourself and stop at the temperature that feels most comfortable to you.
The same rule works if you have small children. The temperature in the house should be high enough for them to feel comfortable while playing on the floor and exploring the environment. Wearing too many clothes is bad for their skin, so the best solution is to find a temperature that will feel the best for both of you. You can adjust the thermostat in your bedroom lower anyway. You can also install a zoning system or warm floors.
How to regulate room temperature for best sleep?
If you have a classic thermostat model that doesn’t have automation features, you have to set the temperature in your bedroom lower than in the rest of the house and keep the door of the room shut.
If you can automate the process, adjust the thermostat to change the temperature during the day, or use the smart zoning system. This way, electronics will lower the temperature down before you go to sleep and raise it to make you feel comfortable during the day.
If the temperature inside the room is higher than the temperature outside the window, you can open the window wide and switch the air conditioner. This way, the cold air will push the hot air outside faster, and the temperature of the room will lower down much faster. It’s one of the methods to reach the best temperature for sleeping in winter.
In summer, it will work if you have a ceiling window. Open it wide to let the cold air from the conditioner push the hot air out and close it when you feel comfortable.
Another way to regulate room temperature in summer is to keep windows shut and covered with tight curtains to keep the hot air and the sunlight outside. It won’t provide a big difference if it’s too hot, so use the air conditioner before going to sleep and a fan during the night.
What is the best temperature for sleeping in Celsius?
To know what is the optimal temperature for sleeping in Celsius, you should make this calculation (65 °F − 32) × 5/9 = 18,333°C. This is the lowest recommended temperature in Celcius. You can put any number instead of 65 and get the needed amount in Celsius. If you don’t want to calculate, just remember that the best temperature is between 18,3°C and 22°C.
What is the best temperature for babies to sleep at?
The best air temperature for babies starts at 60°F and usually shouldn’t be above 68°F. You can also regulate the temperature by adding and removing parts of clothing. To check if the baby feels too hot, you have to touch him or her behind the neck and around the belly. If these spots are too hot or sweaty, you have to remove a piece of clothing.
What’s Your Ideal Sleeping Temperature?
Now you can adjust the best temperature for your entire family. It’s time to give advice to your parents and check if your small children feel comfortable enough during the night. You should also keep an eye on the thermostat in your own bedroom to feel good enough every morning and be productive during the day.
Every member of your family should follow the recommendations to have a better mood and more energy for daily routines. If there are elderly people and babies in your house, you should help them to feel good enough and talk to your doctor to develop the best bedtime routines for family members who have health problems.
Do you already know your perfect nighttime climate? What is your favorite temperature, and how do you achieve it? Please, share your experience in the comments section below and feel free to ask me questions if something remains unclear after you read the article. However, it seems that I’ve covered everything, so I’d be glad if you check out other articles on my blog about healthy sleeping. Keep safe and stay tuned!