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Is Your Home’s Temperature Affecting Your Sleep?

With Tucson summers reaching over 100 degrees outside, indoor temperature control is critical. While most people opt for daytime air conditioning relief, they shy away from staying cool at night. Scientists have studied the correlation between temperature and a sleep, and the resulting data points to one clear fact: the temperature of your bedroom affects both the quality and duration of sleep. If you suffer from insomnia or other sleep issues that keep you from getting a good night’s rest, you may want to consider adjusting the temperature of your home after the sun goes down.

It usually begins with a foot jutting out from under the covers, soon to be followed by a leg or two. Before you know it, you’ve thrown your blanket off entirely. These nighttime activities, while often forgotten before you wake up, are indicators that the temperature of your bedroom is keeping you awake at night.

Studies have shown that idyllic sleep patterns for maximum rest can be achieved by maintaining sleeping temperatures that are slightly colder than you may think. Not only are you more likely to stay asleep longer, you will probably have little-to-no difficulty falling asleep when you head off to bed.

While it seems counterintuitive to make your home an uncomfortable temperature at night, there are a few things you should know about body temperature regulation:

1. Your body works to regulate two temperatures: your “shell” or skin temperature, and your core temperature

2. Your body does its best to maintain optimal temperatures on its own, and your core temperature is often in contrast with your skin.

3. Scientific research has found that even if the skin temperature was hot or cold, as long as the core temperature remained in the “ideal” range, test subjects reported sleeping soundly.

4. Your body’s internal clock, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm, is responsible for keeping your body temperature up during the day and cooling it off at night. One of the ways that the body conserves energy at night is by lowering your core temperature one to two degrees.

5. Your body temperature decreases in increments throughout the night, usually from 11 pm to 7 am. The average adult’s lowest body temperature is around 5 a.m.

6. You neither sweat nor shiver during natural REM sleep.

65 degrees is considered optimal for a good night’s sleep, though that level of comfort will vary from person to person. A good rule of thumb for nighttime temperature is to set your thermostat anywhere from 65 to 68 degrees. Drifting off in this temperature range allows your body to be, “thermally neutral,” meaning that it won’t have to work overtime to generate heat or cool the body down.

Don’t adjust that thermostat low enough to see your breath just yet, though. Keeping your bedroom too cold could be just as disruptive to sleep cycles. Be sure to minimize discomfort by trying varied temperatures and noting how you slept each morning.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, you should “think of your bedroom as a cave: It should be cool, quiet, and dark.”

Additional Considerations for Finding Your Perfect Sleep Temperature:

1. If you share a bedroom with someone, it is important to find a median temperature that allows both of you to sleep well.

2. Some pillows, like memory foam, can retain heat and add to nighttime temperature discomfort.

3. Keep windows and curtains closed during the summer months to preserve cooler nighttime temperatures.

4. Exercising right before bed causes your body’s core temperature to rise, which can throw off your circadian clock and lead a delay in falling asleep.

5. Consider adding a programmable thermostat to regulate air conditioning overnight to ensure maximum comfort while sleeping.

6. Your thermostat may not be in the right place to manage your bedroom temperatures. Your bedroom may be in a completely different part of your home from your thermostat, which are often found in cool hallways or by entrances which tend to be breezy.