One of the best feelings at the end of a long day is crawling into bed and getting cozy under the blankets. When you first tucked yourself in, you were a little cold. But have you ever woken up in the middle of the night feeling like a hot mess?
If the answer is yes, you’ll be happy to learn it’s perfectly normal. Throughout the night, our body temperature will rise and fall with our sleep cycle. This means finding the best temperature for sleeping is critical for a good night’s sleep.
Is there a perfect room temperature to ensure a great night’s worth of rest? While some say yes, the answer is a little more subjective. Some people, for example, frequently wake from feeling too cold while others wake from feeling too hot.
Are you tired of always waking up too hot or too cold? Here’s how you can find the best temperature for sleeping tonight!
Body Temperatures and the Science
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s 24-hour clock regulating its functions and processes. The most well-known part of the circadian rhythm is our sleep-wake cycle.
Throughout this cycle, our bodies will slightly increase and decrease temperature. As you get ready for bed, your body’s temperature lowers before sleep. It will continue cooling down until around 5 am or near daybreak.
Have you noticed your usually chilly hands and feet tend to warm up around bedtime? As your body cools, your blood vessels expand. The heat escapes through your hands and feet to help cool your core.
The temperature of the room you’re sleeping in can affect how efficiently your body can reduce this excess heat. When your bedroom, or blankets, are too warm, your body will have a more challenging time reducing heat. This will cause you to wake up hot and sometimes sweating.
Conversely, if the bedroom temperature is too cold, your body temperature may drop too quickly causing you to wake up freezing!
Researchers are continuing to find growing evidence regarding how the temperature of a room can affect the quality of your sleep. Many researchers are finding people have more difficulty experiencing quality sleep during hotter months. A warmer bedroom makes it more challenging for your body to cool off.
Sleeping When It’s Too Hot or Too Cold
When the temperature of your room is outside the comfortable sleeping temperatures, the quality of your sleep degrades. You’ll wake up feeling less than fresh and in some cases have sore muscles and joints.
When it’s too hot, the average person will be more restless throughout the night. There are several sleep stages of non-REM and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep you cycle through during the night. These stages are important for memory consolidation, immune health, and muscle repair.
Sleeping in too hot of a room will affect the stage 3 non-REM and stage 4 REM sleep. Both are important for mental and physical health. Humidity and heat can contribute to other sleeping problems.
Those sleeping in a room that’s too cold may experience more disrupted sleep than those in a warmer room. The good news is, being a little too cool won’t necessarily affect your sleep cycle.
Being too cold while sleeping, however, affects your ability to fall asleep and disturb other areas of your health. The cold can also have an impact on your body’s cardiac autonomic response.
Are You Feeling Hot or Cold?
Healthy adults can face health issues by sleeping in temperatures that are too hot or too cold. Sometimes, we don’t have control over the temperature we sleep in. In this case, what can we do?
The good news is you can still find the best temperature for sleeping, even if you don’t have control over the temperature. If it’s too hot you can try:
- Adding a fan
- Wearing less clothing
- Use lighter sheets and blankets
If the temperature is too cold you consider trying:
- Extra blankets
- Thicker warmer bedding
- An electric blanket
- Hot water bottle
- Wear socks to bed
Doing any of the above will help your body maintain a comfortable temperature while you sleep.
Do Your Age and Size Affect Temperature?
You’ve probably met people at some point who are either always hot or always cold. Perhaps even you may tend to lean hotter or colder. Does your age or size affect the best temperature for sleeping?
The answer is yes. For the majority of healthy adults, a cooler room set at the lower 60°F range is best for sleep.
Babies and the elderly don’t maintain body temperature as well as an average healthy adult. Having them sleep in a room that’s too cool can be dangerous to their health, possibly putting them at risk for hypothermia. Warmer temperatures of 65°F or above are generally safer for raw elderly or those who can’t maintain healthy body temperature.
Babies also need warmer temperatures. The 2 main reasons for this are their bodies can’t regulate body temperature well and they don’t sleep with many blankets. A baby sleeping under too many blankets can cause them to overheat or lead to SIDS.
For most babies, you could increase the temperature a couple of degrees warmer than what you prefer. Stick to between the temperatures of 60°F and 68°F. Dress your baby in night clothing that’s appropriate for the temperature of the room.
Your baby shouldn’t need anything more than a sleep sack and a breathable sleeper. You can change these to a lighter or heavier material with the seasons.
Unsure how to tell if your baby is too hot or too cold while they sleep? Check your baby’s temperature by touching their stomach or the back of your neck. If their skin is hot and sweaty you can remove a layer to help cool them down.
What is the Best Temperature for Sleeping?
As a rule of thumb, a cooler bedroom temperature will help you achieve a better night’s sleep. Some people recommend setting your room temperature between 60° and 67.° This temperature range will keep you cool but not so cold you wake up freezing!
A cooler bedroom offers more benefits than only improved sleep. Those paying for heat can enjoy reduced energy bills. Using less heat at night results in less energy consumption.
Another big benefit you’ll enjoy is fewer sweaty nights. Have you ever wondered what causes stains on mattresses? While there are a variety of reasons, the most popular and least gross is sweat.
You can enjoy all of these benefits by simply cooling the temperature in your bedroom at night.
Tips to Help You Sleep Better
Have you found the best temperature for sleeping but still find it challenging to get a restful night of sleep? Fortunately, there’s more you can do before bedtime to help you sleep better.
Avoid Late Day Caffeine
Many of us are guilty of enjoying our hot cup of coffee in the mornings or an energizing pick-me-up in the middle of the day.
While our morning dose of caffeine is okay, you should opt to skip the afternoon caffeine boost. Consuming caffeine in the afternoons or evenings can prevent you from falling and staying asleep.
Keep it Dark
We sleep better when it’s dark in our rooms. Adding blackout curtains or blinds can block out street lamps, sunlight, and other light that can make your room too bright for sleeping.
Another lighting issue many of us experience is the light from electronics. No, you don’t need to get rid of your electronics.
You should note, however, that some items such as our computers, TVs, phones, and other gadgets may have lights that blink or illuminate parts of our rooms at night. If possible you should turn your electronics off or cover the light with a blanket to keep your room dark.
Change Your Bedding with the Seasons
Are you someone who uses the same bedding year-round? This works well for those who live in areas with relatively consistent climates. If you live in an area that experiences multiple seasons, change your sheets to match the seasons.
During the cooler months, switch to warmer sheets and bedding. You can change back to your lighter cooler bedding when the seasons get warmer. This will help keep your body temperature comfortable all night.
Keep Your Bedroom Quiet
Noises, no matter how small, can be distracting and make it difficult for you to sleep. When it’s time to sleep, turn off your TV, radio, and set your phone or other gadgets to silent.
Are there noises beyond your control? Adding white noise, such as a fan, or listening to a white noise app can help lull you to sleep.
Create and Stick to a Sleep Routine
Our circadian rhythms are our internal clocks. Set a sleep routine by setting a bedtime and sticking to it. This will help you fall asleep easier and wake feeling more refreshed than before.
Find Your Best Temperature for Sleeping Tonight!
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. By cooling your bedroom, changing your bedding, and dressing right, you’ll find the best temperature for sleeping. You’ll wake up feeling fresher, happier, and ready to tackle the day!
Check out our latest Health articles to learn more great tips to feel great this year!