A lousy room temperature when trying to fall asleep, whether too hot or too cold, might substantially affect your sleep quality. This article will look at what science says about the best temperature for sleep, such as the best air temperature for sleep, how body temperature fluctuates over the sleep cycle, and how to maintain the ideal temperature for sleep quality.
According to experts, the sleeping temperature should be approximately 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.5 degrees Celsius). Your optimal sleeping temperature, however, may be affected by personal factors such as the sort of bed covers you use and how lightweight your pajamas are.
According to studies, a good night’s sleep requires the perfect balance of ambient room temperature and appropriate bedding.
How Does Temperature Affect Sleep?
Your body temperature changes throughout the day as well as when you sleep. Body temperature is linked to circadian rhythm, a collection of biological activities that follow a 24-hour cycle dependent on light and darkness exposure. Other biological activities, including hunger and hormone synthesis, are also governed by circadian rhythms.
There are four main stages of a healthy sleep cycle. The first three sleep phases are referred to as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Your body begins to settle down for deep sleep during the second of these stages. Your core temperature decreases, your pulse, and breathing rate slow, and your eye movements cease. This process continues throughout the last NREM sleep stage, which is distinguished by deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS).
Your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure rise during the fourth and last stage of sleep, known as rapid eye movement (REM). Accordingly, your sleep temperature body cools during the other stages.
By the end of this final stage in the night, these core temperatures will be close to natural waking levels. Still, the sleep cycle will begin again, and body temperature will fall. As the night passes, healthy individuals have longer REM phases.
Cooling Techniques to Combat Heat
When heat is expelled via your skin and breath, it lowers your core temperature. Blood vessels transfer heat through your body, and when it’s warm, the vessels expand (or vasodilate) to allow for greater heat exchange, eliminating body heat.
Evaporative heat loss, often known as sweating, is the second method. When the body has difficulty shedding heat, it can accelerate heat loss by opening up additional shunting vessels near the skin or eliminating significantly more heat through sweating.
Opening shunting vessels provides for faster heat exchange with the surrounding air. Because these vessels are mostly found in the hands, ears, and fingers, they are the first to appear red when you are heated. These are also the places that are the first to relax after a good night’s sleep.
Hot days make it more difficult to achieve lower body temperatures at night because the body needs to work more to shed heat, including sweating.
Because both extra means of enabling the body to cool are related to sympathetic nervous system activity, your body’s fight-or-flight reaction, sleep is more likely to be disrupted when it is busy controlling and lowering its temperature, which needs more work as temperatures soar.
How Heat Affects Sleep
Excessive nighttime temperatures are detrimental to sleep. However, various regions interpret hot weather differently, so we wanted to investigate how sleep quality changed during the warmest months in places where temperatures are greatest all year.Research on individuals living Verified Source ScienceDirect One of the largest hubs for research studies and has published over 12 million different trusted resources. View source in Africa’s Sahel areas reveals, at least in part, some beneficial effects on the body’s temperature and sleep: When participants sleep in an air-conditioned setting at night, long-term heat acclimation and exposure to excessive daytime temperatures throughout the summer (between 95-99 degrees Fahrenheit) promote deep sleep.
There was still some sleep disturbance, such as increased nocturnal alertness and lighter sleep phases. Still, these areas’ of extraordinarily high daytime heat may have had a significant, selective effect on slow-wave sleep.
Although the remarkable results may not be applicable in more humid environments, according to the researchers, dampness makes it harder for humans to expel heat since it raises thermal load and inhibits evaporation.
Sleep Tips to Beat the Heat
You may help your body to prepare for sleep by being careful with your internal thermostat by refraining from hot drinks and caffeine later in the day, in addition to managing the temperature of your sleeping environment. If you indulge in caffeine-free tea for sleep, you may want to drink it cool or lukewarm rather than have it piping hot.
Because circadian rhythms are influenced by changes in light, nutrition, and exercise, the timing of these activities can influence body temperature and prevent the natural urge to fall asleep from kicking in sooner.
During the summer, use an air conditioner or sleep with a fan on to chill and circulate the air. If you use a simple rotating fan, one common hack is to place a bowl with ice cubes in front of it for extra cooling moisture.
However, studies discovered that when airflow is directed at a human body, even at insensible speeds, it alters sleep conditions by changing sleeping postures and affecting sleep depth. In other words, the airflow of an air conditioner may affect your sleep quality.
Linen, bamboo and cotton are excellent fabrics for sleeping in the heat. They are made of natural fibers (cotton is cotton and bamboo is bamboo, while linen is made from the flax plant) that breathe very well, which is essential for remaining cool. Tencel sheets are also usually made with eucalyptus fibers, making them another popular choice for hot sleepers.
Which type of sheets are the best for hot sleepers? Each one has its pros and cons, so if you’re torn between two materials, you might want to check out our in-depth comparison guides:
- Bamboo vs. Cotton Sheets: What’s the Difference?
- Bamboo vs. Linen Sheets: What’s the Difference?
- Bamboo vs. Tencel Sheets: What’s the Difference?
- Tencel vs. Cotton Sheets: What’s the Difference?
Sheets with percale weaves are popular in the summer.
A high-quality pillow keeps you cool and promotes a temperature-neutral sleeping surface. A cooling pillow is designed to pull heat away from the body while increasing ventilation to avoid heat retention. Memory foam pillows can be quite cool, particularly if they have a shredded foam fill.
Also, look for airy pillowcases or pillow shams. Breathable pillow covers are frequently made of moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics.
Close the Curtains
Close your curtains or draw the blinds to exclude direct sunlight and minimize the amount of heat that enters your living area. In addition, closed curtains at night have the added benefit of blocking out unwanted outdoor light.
Heat rises. Consider sleeping downstairs or relocating your bedroom to a lower floor on hot nights.
Open the Windows
Opening windows at night can cool the air and help you sleep. However, allergens can also enter, causing irritation and disrupting sleep. People who have to manage asthma and sleep may need to see cool in a more controlled environment.
Control Bedroom HumidityAccording to experts, Verified Source Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Works to control/prevent natural and manmade disasters. View source the recommended room humidity level for improved sleep is between 30% and 50%. This means that being in an atmosphere that is too dry or too damp might affect the quality of our sleep. To begin with, if the atmosphere is overly humid, the moisture within your body will be more difficult to evaporate.
You may also want to pair a humidifier with the benefits of an air purifier to maximize your air quality, too.
Use Summer Clothing
A lightweight blanket with short-sleeved summer pajamas, or even underwear with a light T-shirt, should keep you comfortable and safe throughout the night. If it’s a hot night, you may even go with thin clothing and a top sheet.
Take a Warm Bath
Take a warm bath an hour or two before night to promote cooling. It may sound counterintuitive, but warm baths and showers Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source can help you cool down. They’re also a good way to relax before bed.
The Best Temperature for Sleep
The optimal bedroom temperature range for sleep is generally between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, with 65-67 degrees considered the sweet spot for most individuals.
To make it easier to reach a lower body temperature, your bedroom temperature should be much lower than your body temperature without making you or your bed partner feel excessively cold when trying to fall asleep.
Suppose you have multiple layers of comforters or sheets in your bedroom. In that case, you might prefer a room temperature setting closer to 60 degrees.
If your chosen bedroom sheet is light or you sleep without covers, you may select a warmer setting for your bedroom for a good sleep environment.
Ultimately, it’s all about feeling at ease in your bed. The temperature in the bedroom should be such that your body has no difficulty maintaining its temperature and should not affect your sleep quality.
Natural Aids for Better Sleep
A cool bedroom isn’t the only way to promote better sleep. Some find essential oils and supplements help them fall asleep fast when it’s time for bed.
Many of these studies do require more research to substantiate their results, Dr. Santhi noted. However, many may still find them worth a try.
- Melatonin: Melatonin stimulates sleep by acting on melatonin receptors in your brain. Melatonin pills supplement your body’s natural supply of the hormone. This can assist you in falling asleep and improving the quality of your sleep.
- Valerian root: Multiple studies have found that valerian Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source – a tall, blooming grassland plant — may shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and help you sleep better. Only the highly processed roots of Valeriana officinalis have been extensively investigated among the several valerian species.
- Lavender: Lavender inhalation enhanced the proportion of slow-wave Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source (deep) sleep in both men and women. Lavender usage improved stage 2-light sleep and reduced REM sleep in women. The time it took for women to wake up for the first time throughout the night (wake after first onset sleep latency) was also extended.
- Tryptophan: According to one evaluation of four research studies, consuming at least 1 gram of tryptophan per day can enhance sleep quality Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source and minimize the amount of time individuals spend awake in the middle of the night.
- Magnesium: According to research, magnesium may help magnesium may help Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source alleviate the symptoms of sleeplessness. Taking 500 mg of magnesium daily for eight weeks improved numerous subjective and objective indicators of insomnia in an eight-week trial of older people with insomnia.
- Ginkgo Biloba: Taking 240 mg of this herb 30-60 minutes before bed may help reduce tension, improve relaxation, and promote sleep, according to research. Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source
More Ways to Create the Best Bedroom for Sleep
- Best and Worst Bedroom Colors for Sleep
- Fire Safety Tips While You Sleep
- Best Essential Oils for the Bedroom and Sleep
- Best Plants for Your Bedroom
- Creating a Calm, Clutter-Free Bedroom
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if your room is too cold?
The answer can depend on whether you’re sleeping in a room that is cold and damp versus a room that is cold and dry. For example, trench foot is a risk if you sleep in a room that is too cold and too wet. The answer also depends on how low the temperature is. A bedroom in the high 50-degree range isn’t the most comfortable environment for sleep, but it also doesn’t carry the same dangers of a room that is close to the freezing point of 32° F.
However, in general, too-cold temperatures carry the risk of hypothermia, swelling and itchiness from inflamed blood vessels, breathing difficulties as airways become irritated from cold air, and muscle pain and cramps.
What room temperature is too hot for sleep?
It’s usually too hot in your bedroom if the temperature rises beyond 70° F, though some feel comfortable up to 75° F. A too-hot bedroom can make it harder to fall asleep, and it can be more difficult to sleep undisturbed if the bedroom is too warm. Lightweight bedding can help you bed feel cool all night.
What is the best temperature for sleep for babies?
Infants may benefit from a one or two-degree warmer bedroom, up to 69 degrees Fahrenheit (20.5 degrees Celsius). Their bodies are more sensitive to variations in ambient temperature since they are smaller and still developing. Experts also recommend against using blankets and other bedding in their cribs until they are a year old, so a slightly warmer bedroom can help them stay warm without being bundled up.
Before you go to bed at night, make sure the temperature in your sleeping area is cool. This increases your chances of getting a good quantity of sleep every night.
For optimal sleep, your room temperature should be between 60 and 72°F. Infants should be able to sleep at these temperatures if they are appropriately dressed. For newborns, consider raising the temperature by a degree or two, but don’t allow them to become too hot.
About the author
Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a focus on sleep and nutrition. He has studied health science and psychology at a university level and has consulted several businesses and individuals on the connection between sleep and overall well-being including the effect lack of sleep has on other aspects of health such as exercise, nutrition, and concentration. He is a published author working on his second book.View all posts