For most people, as long as this range doesn’t incorporate extreme heat or cold, they’ll probably be just fine. But according to medical researchers, a very precise range of temperatures is best for optimal sleep — that range is from roughly 60 to about 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures too far above (i.e., over 75 degrees) or below (under 54 degrees) these numbers can actually be disruptive to good, sound sleep.
Why is this?
The reason why is because over a period of 24 hours, our body temperature peaks and declines. Our internal temperature usually is at its highest point just after noon and at its lowest point at about 5 a.m. After we go to sleep, our body naturally cools down. The faster your body is able to do this, the deeper (and healthier) the sleep you’ll get.
According to UniSA’s Center for Sleep Research’s Dr. Cameron van den Heuvel, “About one to one and a half hours before falling asleep, 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.”
The Benefits of a Cold Sleep
There are myriad reasons why sleeping in a slightly colder room can be beneficial for your health. Here are just four of them:
- You’ll Be Able to Fall Asleep More Quickly
It’s a matter of simple math; if you provide an environment that’s more comfortable for your body to fall asleep in, it will do so in a faster manner. Whereas if a room is too hot or too cold, your body wastes energy trying to regulate itself, which leads to tossing and turning.
- The Sleep You Get Will Be Sounder
If your body isn’t wasting energy trying to regulate itself, you’ll get better, more restorative, sounder sleep. In Australia, recent research has shown that falling asleep in a cooler environment can even decrease certain kinds of dementia.
- You’ll Look More Youthful
Believe it or not, researchers have found that falling asleep in a room between 60 and 67 degrees allows your body to produce more melatonin, one of the body’s best natural anti-aging hormones.
- You Can Decrease the Risk of Specific Metabolic Diseases
A four-month study showed that if an average person goes to sleep in a 66-degree room, they burn more calories while they’re awake, but also, they retain more “brown fat” (the healthy kind of fat) in their body. Brown fat allows the body to burn calories, as opposed to storing them. This effect helps lower the risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes over time.
How to Stay Cool at Night
For most people, running their air conditioning isn’t economical throughout the entire year. But there are other ways you can keep your home cool and not spend a fortune. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to purchase a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows your home’s temperature to vary throughout the day and adjust to your comfort level only when you’re physically present. If you go on vacation, you can easily set your thermostat lower to save money.
Some people rave about thermostats from Nest Labs, the company started by ex-Apple employees. Others prefer thermostats from a company called Lennox. The latter firm’s iComfort thermostat gives users the current weather as well as an upcoming 5-day forecast, in addition to being fully programmable for a person’s schedule. It also allows a user to match their home’s décor by changing the thermostat’s background color.
More Ways to Stay Cool (Particularly If You Live in a Hot Area)
— Try freezing your top sheet and putting it on just before you go to sleep.
— Sleep naked! The fewer clothes you wear, the less insulation will encumber your body, trapping less heat.
— Freeze a favorite stuffed animal and keep it between your knees.
— Purchase a special cooling pillow that will naturally reduce heat.
— Use fans to circulate the air in your room.
— Let your top sheet absorb some chilled or ice water. Wring it out well, and let it dry until you’re comfortable using it. If it’s not fully dry, it will wick away heat as the remaining water evaporates.
— Stick either one or both of your feet outside your bed covers.
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