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Do you sleep better in the cold of a winter night, or the hot evenings in the summer?
You know what’s it like to be struggling to fall asleep because your significant other has turned the A/C on really high? Or maybe your loved one is always complaining that you insist on a boiling temperature in the bedroom to sleep?
You’re both awake in the middle of the night with one of you either shivering in the sheets or the other sweats in the heat.
You end up in an argument about what’s the perfect temperature for the bedroom at night.
If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s extremely common. Over 30 percent of people report that they have a different temperature preference to the people they live with, according to Reuters.
Have you ever stopped to think about whether this is an endless argument without a resolution?
Or, is there a scientific answer to the question – what’s the optimal temperature for sleeping. Keep reading to find out!
The Truth About Your Body Heat
Did you know that your body temperature is constantly in flux?
Do you ever feel hot and stuffy during the late afternoon? That could be because that’s when your body reaches it’s the warmest temperature.
Your body is in tune with the so-called circadian rhythm. This is your body clock that’s dictated by the sun.
After the afternoon, your body gradually cools down in time for you to go to sleep.
The cooler temperature of your body tells your brain that it’s time for sleeping. That’s when you get a boost of melatonin, which is the sleep-regulating hormone.
What About When You’re Sleeping?
According to the neurologist, Dr. Rachel Salas, from the Johns Hopkins University, most specialists advise that the optimal temperature to sleep is only 65 degrees.
Yes, that’s cooler than room temperature, which is normally higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s definitely well below your normal body temperature. This raises the question, why does the temperature need to be cooler when you’re sleeping?
Well, your body temperature is naturally lower when you’re sleeping anyway because your body is operating at a lower setting. And then, towards the end of your sleeping cycle, before you wake up, your body starts to warm up again.
By maintaining a low temperature of around 65 degrees in the bedroom, you allow the body to do what it does naturally without interrupting the process.
In fact, the consequences of sleeping in a warm bedroom can be surprisingly severe. If you increase the temperature of the room during sleep, you risk developing a sleeping disorder. According to experts, one of the most significant causes of insomnia is actually a high temperature in the bedroom.
And yet, if you’re too cold during sleep, this can also have adverse effects.
Your body requires energy to warm up your body, and thus, your sleep won’t be so reenergizing if your body is having to work. That’s why even if you prefer colder rooms for sleeping, don’t drop below 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
But Everyone’s Different
Can we really say that around 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the best temperature for everyone?
There are numerous different climates, in which the average temperature of a room is much higher or lower than 60-67 degrees.
You probably know someone who says, “I feel the cold more than other people”. Or maybe they boast, “I’m warm blooded and don’t feel the cold”.
Surely, this means that people experience temperature in different ways while they’re awake. Why would it be any different when we’re asleep? Even Dr. Salas admits that, although she recommends a temperature of 65 degrees for sleeping. For her, 68 is the right temperature.
This raises the question, what determines what temperature is optimal for sleeping? Mostly the answer is age.
For example, children younger than five years old, require a higher temperature for optimal sleep. For example, from 65 and up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, when people say “sleep like a baby”, they really mean in a warm temperature.
Especially Men and Women
As the best-selling 1990s, self-help book was titled Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. While this is a stretch, when it comes to temperature, the differences are stark.
Have you ever wondered why it’s often women who complain about cold temperatures in the workplace? Well, according to researchers from the University of Maastricht, in the Netherlands, women really do have point here.
According to The New York Times, it was discovered that many office buildings which were constructed during the 1960s were designed with men, not women, in mind. Typical, you might think.
In fact, the office was designed for the preferences of the average 40-year old male weighing around 155 pounds.
So, what’s the science behind why women experience cold temperatures more acutely than men?
Generally speaking, women have lower levels of metabolic rates when they’re sitting down or resting. As a result, this means that women don’t produce the same amount of body heat in the office.
With this in mind, how can we possibly expect men and women who live together to agree on what temperature to set the thermostat when sleeping.
What About Your Energy Bill?
One thing that brings everyone together is saving money on energy bills.
In the summer months, maintaining the right temperature for your home can be expensive. Many people try to save a few cents by turning off the A/C when they’re out, or while they’re sleeping.
However, it’s actually really important to make sure you keep your A/C around your perfect temperature at all times if you want to save money. If your preferred temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t allow your home to increase by more than a few degrees above or below it.
That’s because your A/C system requires a lot of energy when the compressors are first turned on, but not so much after this. That’s why it’s much more efficient to allow your A/C to sustain your required temperature, rather constantly have to reboot. Rather than turning it off, leave it on while you’re sleeping.
Do you want to learn more about A/C systems? You can read more here!
Whereas, in the winter months, you can save a lot on your energy bills by turning down your heating by just a few degrees.
According to research, for each degree you reduce the heat of your home by in the winter, you can save up to 5% on your monthly electricity bills, according to Time Magazine. That’s more than enough to buy a pair of thicker pajamas to keep you warm at night.
What Else Effects How You Sleep?
What effects the quality of your sleep is not just the temperature in the room.
Your mattress can also regulate the temperature. For example, on the one hand, if you have a memory foam mattress, this is probably trapping the heat between you and the sheets effectively.
On the other hand, if you can purchase cooling mattresses that ensure that your sleeping on a cool surface.
Another factor is the thickness and quality of your bed sheets. Do you have a warm duvet or a thin blanket?
Many experts advise different bed sheets depending on the time of year. You can switch between two different sets of bed sheets through the seasons.
Do you leave your window open at night? This is a bad habit if you want to control the temperature of the bedroom.
What about the blinds or curtains? The sunlight in the morning can also warm up your room more than you want.
Lastly, what are you wearing when you sleep?
If you’re sleeping naked, there’s plenty of additional benefits to sleeping naked. But if you might be feeling the cold a lot more.
If you sleep naked, you might consider wearing socks to bed. That can dilate your blood vessels and allow for your body heat to spread around your body better.
What is the Optimal Sleep Temperature?
We often hear that we’re not getting enough sleep nowadays. But maybe it’s simply because we don’t think about the optimal sleep temperature.
But now, you know how to discover what’s the best temperature to sleep. This way you can make sure you’re sleeping soundly at night. And well-prepared with a good night’s sleep for the day ahead.
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