Why Cooler Rooms Help Sleep

With everything going on in the world, you might be having problems getting sleep. Sleep is so vital for good health. It’s helps you physically and mentally. It boosts your body’s immune system. And, it helps you handle stress, so losing sleep because of stress can become a negative loop.

We have written a lot about sleep. We’ve even written about how getting a good night’s rest before getting a flu shot improves its efficacy, which might also be true of the COVID-19 vaccine. Regardless of how it impacts the vaccine, there has been study after study about how it affects physical and mental health. But, we’ve never written about one thing that impacts sleep quality: room temperature.

We all know that sleeping in the summer can be difficult. A hot room can feel stifling, and it can take ages to fall asleep. But, even a warm room isn’t optimal for good sleep quality. Your body can overheat in a warm room in your sleep. You want your brain to remain cooler than your body to aid circadian rhythm.

Being in a warm room, even one that isn’t hot, makes it harder to fall asleep as you are in a heightened state of arousal, and your body has to cool off. Dr. Cameron Van den Heuvel from the Univ. of Southern Australia explained, “We’re only talking about a half to one degree Celsius but that small temperature change can result in significant differences in arousal between insomniacs and people without sleeping problems.”

Your bedroom should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for a perfect night’s rest. Higher than 75 and lower than 54, and you’re in for a rough night. When a room is warmer than 70, your body stops releasing melatonin. This hormone aids peaceful sleep and boosts healthy aging. Sleeping in a cool room also lowers your stress hormone cortisol. It also may reduce your risk for metabolic diseases as people in studies have been seen to burn more calories and store fewer calories.  

Another big perk of all this is that it can save you money. If you have central heating, you can turn it down before bed to cool your room to the right temperature. Depending on what type of system you have and how many zones you have, you might already turn down different parts of your home. This could add up and save you quite a bit of money over the winter.

You don’t want your bedroom to be frigid. As stated above, rooms below 54 promote poor sleep. And, rooms colder than 50 have been linked to high blood pressure and higher numbers of cardiac events, like heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, people with sleep apnea may have problems in colder rooms, so there are safety limits. But, overall, cool is better than hot.   

If you have chronic problems sleeping, you should speak to your doctor as long-term sleep loss can cause health problems. However, at the moment, many of us are having occasional rough nights. Give this a try and see if it helps!

Banner image: Dan LeFebvre via Unsplash
January 28, 2021
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