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Have you given much thought to the temperature at which you fall asleep? I haven’t. Turning on a fan or opening/closing windows is always a game-time decision for me, right when I’m about to hit the hay.
My feet and hands are always chilly, so I prefer to hop in bed when the sheets aren’t ice cold. But if it’s too warm (especially with my furry baby animal heaters,) I’ll wake up in the middle of the night hot and uncomfortable.
So, where’s the middle ground? Is there an optimal sleeping temperature? Science says yes.
Christopher Winter, medical director at Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, says your bedroom should be between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Temperatures above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees can disrupt sleep.
Over a 24-hour period, our body temperatures naturally peak and decline. Our internal temperature is usually at its highest in the early afternoon and lowest around 5 a.m. When we fall asleep, our bodies naturally cool off. Helping your body get to that lower temperature faster can encourage deeper sleep.
Cameron Van den Heuvel, of the UniSA’s Centre for Sleep Research, says:
“About one to one and a half hours before falling sleep, the body starts to lose heat from its central core and that brings on increased feelings of tiredness in normal healthy adults. These physiological changes happen well before going to bed and may be occurring before people realize them.”
Benefits Of Cold Sleeping
There are many reasons that sleeping in a cooler environment can benefit your health. Here are four reasons to cool down tonight.
1. Fall Asleep More Quickly
It’s simple math, really. Provide an environment for your body to fall asleep more comfortably, and it will, in a faster manner. If it’s too hot or too cold, your body will waste energy trying to regulate, and leave you tossing and turning all night.
2. Get A Better Night’s Sleep
When your body isn’t trying to regulate itself, you’ll fall into a deeper, more restorative sleep. Research in Australia has also proven that sleeping in cooler environments can help decrease certain types of insomnia.
3. Look More Youthful
It’s been shown that sleeping in temperatures between 60-68 degrees will allow your body to release more melatonin, one of our best anti-aging hormones.
4. Decrease Your Risk For Certain Metabolic Diseases
In a four-month study, it was determined that sleeping in a 66-degree room not only burned more calories while awake, but the amount of “brown fat” (or good fat) in the body increased. Brown fat allows your body to burn calories, not store them.
Together, this could help lower the risk for metabolic diseases like diabetes over time.
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The Best Ways To Keep Cool
Running the AC throughout the year isn’t an economical option. However, there are ways to keep your home cooler without spending a fortune. Perhaps the most efficient way is to buy a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow your home’s temperature to fluctuate throughout the day, according to when you are or aren’t at home, and your comfort level.
I know a lot of people rave about The Nest, but my husband and I prefer the Lennox iComfort. Not only does it allow us to program the thermostat according to our schedule, but we can see live weather and a five-day forecast.
It also has an app so when we go on vacation, we can adjust the temperature from afar so it’s comfortable when we return (like when getting on a return flight).
Here are seven other ways to help keep your cool:
1. Freeze your top sheet and put it on right before bedtime.
2. Sleep naked. Fewer clothes = less insulation.
3. Freeze a stuffed animal and tuck it between your knees.
4. Use a fan to circulate air around the room.
5. Purchase a cooling pillow to help naturally draw the heat away.
6. Soak your top sheet in cold or ice water and ring it out well. As it dries, it will help wick away heat.
7. Stick one or both feet out from under the covers.