There really is a magical temperature for optimal sleep, and it’s colder than you think! So stop arguing with your family, housemates, or stubborn partner about the thermostat, and reluctantly concede; they are probably right.
If you’re a habitually restless sleeper, then you’ll know how annoying it is to have anything in the room that compromises a good night’s sleep. Ticking clocks, bright street lights, hot and heavy duvets, or a snoring bedfellow are a light sleeper’s worst nightmare. But by fiddling with the temperature you might just change your sleeping game for good.
So, what’s the magic number? Between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 16 and 19 degrees Celsius), the experts say.
Dr. Christopher Winter is the medical director at Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine. In order to come up with his recommendation, Winter recognized that “the role of temperature regulation in our bodies need[ed] to be addressed.”
If the ambient temperature falls above or below the recommended window, Winter said, then you are much more likely to suffer disrupted sleep. It’s all due to our own internal temperature-regulation cycle.
“Our body temperatures follow a natural pattern of highs and lows during a 24-hour period,” Winter explained, writing for the Huffington Post. Our “peak temperature” hits in the late afternoon, and is at its lowest around 5 a.m. Sleep, therefore, typically beckons when our body temperature begins to decline.
To take that thought to its logical conclusion, you might fall asleep faster if your room is cool!
A cooler body temperature throughout the night also helps to promote deep sleep, Winter continued. Deep, restorative sleep is extremely important if you want to feel refreshed and ready to greet the day when you wake up at 7 a.m. ahead of that important meeting / school run / extreme sports vacation (you never know!).
Dr. Cameron Van den Heuvel of the University of South Australia’s Center for Sleep Research backed up this claim. With a focus on sleeping pathologies in general and insomniacs in particular, Van den Heuvel discovered that, fascinatingly, insomniacs tend to have a warmer core body temperature right before sleep.
This results in a state of “heightened arousal,” his study explained. This state prevents the insomniac from falling asleep because they are required to wait for their bodies to lose the excess heat that’s keeping them alert and ready for action.
But a swifter journey to the land of nod isn’t the only incredible benefit that a cool bedroom could provide. According to naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner, being too hot while you sleep “will impede the release of growth hormone, which means you won’t burn fat while you sleep.”
So, sleeping in 60- to 67-degree Fahrenheit (16- to 19-degree Celsius) temperatures could actually help us lose weight? That’s correct.
Even more important than that, however, nighttime growth hormone release is essential for tissue repair, building muscle and bone density, and rejuvenating our skin and hair. Optimal sleep means more melatonin, the particular hormone responsible for helping us to rest and repair.
The phrase “beauty sleep” never rang so true!
The Sleep Judge warns that sleep deprivation is a leading cause of heart disease, obesity, and cognitive dysfunction; over time, insufficient sleep impedes our ability to repair and our mental processes throughout the day. So pay close attention to the temperature in your bedroom, won’t you?
Your health will thank you for it!