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Creating an Ideal Sleep Environment - Part 2 - Temperature

Last updated 4 years ago

Temperature control is a very important factor to consider when designing your ideal sleep environment.  The right temperature can be the difference between waking up resfreshed and ready to face the day, or groggy and tired. If you are too hot or too cold, you will wake up multiple times during the night as you try to regulate your temperature, leading to poor, fragmented sleep.  For example, many people report that they will frequently wake up to take off covers or pull on blankets.  Reducing these occurances will result in healthier, more restful slumber. 


During the REM sleep stage, when most dreaming occurs and the brain rests and restores itself, brain cells that regulate body temperature do not function at their maximum efficiency.  Because of this process, your body naturally adjusts to the ambient temperature of your sleep enviornment.  Sleep experts recommend an ideal temperature for your bedroom to be between 62 and 68 degrees to keep the body from waking up and disturbing REM sleep.


In addition to room temperature, a variety of factors contribute to an ideal thermo-neutral sleep climate.  The type of sheets used on your mattress can promote a more thermo-regulated environment.   Cotton sheets are the most recommended to provide an ideal sleep temperature.  However, specialty sheets are also available which actively regulate body temperature through the use of phase-change materials.  Untucking the sheets from the foot of the bed will also allow better airflow and cooling.  Individuals who naturally sleep warm due to body chemistry are advised to wear lightweight pajamas to bed at night.  It is advisable to have several options of sleep clothing including winter pajamas and summer pajamas.  Silk pajamas are ideal for warm climates as silk is a natural cooling fabric. In colder climates, thick cotton is recommended over fleece which may get too warm during the night for most individuals.  A variety of options will allow for adaptation depending on various climate changes.


Other factors effecting temperature are how close your partner sleeps to you and also family pets sleeping in your bed.  If you are struggling to stay cool, you may want pets to sleep somewhere other than the bed, or at the very least, at the foot of the mattress.  You may also consider having a tactful conversation with your partner about giving you some space during the night for ideal restorative sleep.  


Research suggests people with trouble falling asleep due to temperature might benefit from taking a hot bath about 90 minutes before bedtime. When they get out of the bath, body temperature will drop rapidly, which might help them fall asleep faster.


It is important to examine the whole picture related to your sleep environment and temperature regulation is one more piece to the perfect-night-sleep puzzle.  People often focus their attention on one variable in the process instead of considering all the factors that go into sleeping cool and comfortable.  

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