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Hot or Cold: What’s the Best Temperature for Sleep?

Electric Fan Next to Bed

How do you like to sleep? Are you a bundled-under-covers sleeper or do you prefer to be sprawled out with a fan blowing on you? Everyone has a different opinion on the best temperature for sleep. Let’s take a look at whether there really is a "best temperature" or an unhealthy room temperature for sleeping. 

Why Does Temperature Matter?

If you're awake and the external temperature isn't ideal, your body adjusts by shivering or sweating. However, these methods to adjust body temperature do not work when you're in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. REM sleep is one of the most important stages of sleep, particularly when it comes to feeling fully rested. The downside is that your body doesn't sweat or shiver during REM sleep as well as it does when you are awake.

Once your body cycles out of REM sleep, you begin to attempt adjusting to the temperature. For some people, this causes them to wake up during the night to add or remove covers. The period of waking after REM sleep to deal with an unhealthy room temperature will obviously disturb your sleep cycle. What’s more, deficiencies in REM sleep are thought to contribute to poor health, weight gain, and poor cognitive function.

What Is the Best Temperature for Sleeping?

According to some studies, the best room temperature for sleep is a cool 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. This kind of environment allows you to maintain an ideal body temperature for sleeping. It is important to note, however, that you are the best judge of your comfort level. The major thing to remember when you are trying to avoid an unhealthy room temperature is that you should still feel comfortable. Adjusting your thermostat to the lower end of your comfort zone should provide you with the best chance to get your temperature right.

It's also suggested that your room is kept as dark and quiet as possible. If you have issues sleeping, you may want to invest in heavy, dark curtains such as blackout curtains to protect you from any outside lights such as passing car headlights or lampposts. If possible, turn off all the LED-lit devices in your room. If you are still having issues sleeping, consider soundproofing your room or using a dehumidifier to get more comfortable.

Woman Wearing Wooly Hat and Scarf Bed

How to Ensure the Ideal Body Temperature for Sleep

An unhealthy room temperature isn't the only thing that affects body temperature during sleep and prevents a good night’s rest. Always dress for the weather in breathable fabrics such as linen, silk, or cotton. Non-natural fabrics such as polyester do a poor job of allowing you to regulate your body temperature during sleep. 

You'll need fewer layers on warm nights than you would on cold nights. In the cold, you don't want to feel constricted. Cooler temperatures are still the best temperatures for sleeping. However, you always want to keep your feet warm because cold feet can make it much harder to fall asleep.

In the same way that breathable clothing is important for a good night's sleep, so are the fabrics you choose for your bedding. Here, too, natural fabrics are a better choice than synthetics because natural fibers breathe better. Where synthetic materials trap moisture and heat, fabrics like wool have a wicking effect that can stop you from waking up in a cold sweat.

You also don't want to work out too close to bedtime. After you work out, your body temperature can stay elevated for up to four hours. Working out can also keep your body energized instead of allowing you to fall asleep. Opt for a hot bath instead. Once you get out, your body will immediately begin to work at lowering your temperature. This will ensure the ideal body temperature for sleep.

Conclusion

Temperature is one of the most important factors in how well we sleep. Managing the temperature ensures that you have the best possible sleeping environment. This can include a lot of trial and error to find the correct combination of ambient temperature, bedding, and pajamas. However, once you have found your best temperature for sleep, you will rest better, longer, and feel less groggy in the morning.

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