Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you fall asleep quickly only to awaken and have trouble getting back to sleep? Your bed or your pillow may not be to blame. It could be your thermostat that is the problem. Believe it or not, there is an optimum best temperature for sleep.
The Role of Temperature for Sleep
When you fall asleep, your body’s set point for temperature drops. The set point is the temperature your brain determines is best for your situation. When you are awake and healthy, the internal average temperature is 98.6°F.
When you fall to sleep, this number drops. It can drop up to 0.9 degrees. The temperature drop helps you fall asleep. This drop is part of the body’s normal circadian cycle. Your lowest body temperature occurs about 2 hours before you wake up.
If your room is too hot or too cold, your brain gets busy trying to reach that set point. This brain activity can disturb your sleep.
Best Temperature for Sleep
Most sleep experts agree that your bedroom should be your own personal cave when it is time to sleep. That means it should be dark, quiet, and cool. There is a reason bats, champion mammal sleepers racking up 16 hours per day, sleep in caves.
Experts at the National Sleep Foundation suggest 65°F for best sleep. Others recommend a range from 65°F to 72°F at night.
You can try different temperatures within that range until you find the right one for you. If you get the room too much colder, your brain will get busy trying to get you warm; if you get it much warmer, your body will be busy trying to cool down.
If you are worried about changing the temperature every day and night, just replace your old thermostat with a programmable model.
Best Sleep Materials
Because you want to stay as cool as possible, you want to stay away from the memory foam pillows. They do cradle you head and align your neck in delicious comfort, but they are notorious for being warm.
Cotton pajamas will wick moisture away from your body if you sweat when you sleep. However, if you are a very heavy sweater, then you might want to keep a change right next to the bed. Menopausal women suffering with hot flashes can easily soak through their cotton pajamas and the dampness will make you uncomfortable. Stay away from synthetic fabrics when you sleep.
For temperature regulation, silk, wool, and bamboo all help regulate your body temperature. Mattress pads, duvets, and blankets should be made of these temperature regulating materials. For summer time, you might want a lighter-weight wool fill than in the winter. For sheets, select organic or natural cotton sheets or bamboo fiber.
Keep it Clean
No matter what type of sheets, blankets, or duvets are on your bed, it is important that you wash all of your bedding weekly in hot water.
Washing in 140°F degree water removes body oils and kills dust mites. If you can’t get your water that hot, use an laundry additive like De-Mite and wash in cooler temperatures.
Don’t forget that covering your bed in an allergy proof mattress cover extends the life of the mattress, helps keep the mattress clean, and can help you get a better night’s sleep if you have allergies.
Til Next Time!
P.S. If you want more information on what makes us sleepy, sleep soundly, and feel awake and alert, here is a very interesting podcast hosted by Dr. Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine.