If you were to ask a mom about what keeps her up at night, she’d likely give you a list that stretched from Cleveland to Timbuktu. There are towering lists of chores, stress about world events, and, of course, the pitter-patter of little feet creeping into the room and asking for a glass of water or one more story.
But one factor that we often don’t realize is keeping us awake is our own houses—more specifically, the thermostat. Knowing how room temperature impacts your sleep can help you get a few more winks of sleep tonight.
What Happens to Body Temperature When You Sleep?
A lot of people are aware that something called the circadian rhythm controls their bodies’ sleep-wake cycles. Something else the circadian rhythm does is lower your body’s temperature as you approach the time to go to bed. Your temperature continues falling throughout the night, helping you sleep at night.
How Room Temperature Affects Your Sleep
Our bodies are generally pretty good at regulating their own temperatures. However, surroundings that are too warm or too cold can affect our internal temperatures and make it tough for us to fall asleep or stay asleep. In some cases, falling asleep in an overly hot room can even give you nightmares.
How To Use Temperature for Better Sleep
Change the Thermostat
When most people learn about this idea, their first instinct is to ask, “Well, what’s the ideal temperature for sleep?” The truth is, people have different comfort levels and different body temperatures, so there isn’t one good number. However, most agree that it’s somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, you can always experiment. If you usually sleep in a warmer room, try kicking down the thermostat, and vice versa. Your body may react differently to temperature than you think.
Improve Air Flow
Sometimes it isn’t that a room is too hot or too cold but that the air is too stagnant. Poor ventilation in a space can degrade the air quality and make the room feel stuffy, in turn making it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep. A few ways to improve air flow in your bedroom include:
- Opening the doors and windows
- Replacing air filters
- Adding fans to the space
- Moving furniture away from vents
- Investing in an air cleaner
Change Your Bedding
Your room can be the perfect temperature and you could still end up uncomfortable because of your bedding. When our bodies cool themselves down, they actually release heat. And if our bedding isn’t breathable, that heat becomes trapped beside us, making us feel stuffy. When it comes to finding the right bedding for you, you’ll want to balance warmth with breathability. Cotton bedsheets have myriad benefits, including breathability. Other breathable sheet fabrics include linen, Tencel, and bamboo.
Mamas, there’s plenty to keep us up at night. Let’s not let an overly cold or hot space be one of them!