Stay Cool for Better Sleep
Have you ever known someone who liked to keep the air conditioner turned to high-power, claiming it helped to get better sleep? Or, maybe you are one of these cold-sleep proponents, and wonder how anyone could ever fall asleep in hot, humid air temperatures!
In either case, as it turns out, those who enjoy keeping the temperature at a ‘chilly’ level might be onto something. According to an article that was published on HuffPost, there may be a correlation between the temperature of the room and the quality of sleep.
The article was written by Dr. Christopher Winter, and in it, he tells a story about how he used to work with a lot of professional athletes. He said that never, in his entire career, had he ever encountered a professional athlete who wanted to sleep in a warm environment.
All of them had the same sleeping habits. They would turn the thermostat pretty much as cold as they could get it… and that is how they would sleep.
But why? Why would the temperature matter so much?
As it turns out, there might be a logical reason for it.
Why Staying Cool May Promote Better Sleep
What is important to understand about this is that our bodies actually follow a natural pattern of highs and lows throughout the period of a 24-hour day. This is tied to our circadian pattern, and tends to remain pretty consistent—especially if we have regular sleeping and waking times.
Our bodies tend to be the warmest in the late afternoon, and the coldest at 5 AM. It is also interesting to note that the sleeping process is actually initiated by a decline in heat production (and an increase in heat loss) within the body.
But what does this have to do with the temperature of the room?
Well, people who have trouble falling asleep may sometimes be able to blame the problem on a warmer core body temperature. If our bodies do not dissipate the heat fast enough, then it can be more difficult to initiate the ‘sleeping’ part of our cycle.
So the temperature of the room can help with this. If the temperature in the room is lower, then our body will dissipate heat faster.
How Cold Is Cold Enough?
Most studies agree that a temperature of somewhere between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius (60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit) is the best temperature in which to sleep. Research also seems to indicate that temperatures above 24 degrees and below 12 degrees are actually disruptive to sleep.
It has also been demonstrated, in various studies, that sleeping in a hot environment decreases your ability to experience slow-wave sleep, and increases wakefulness. And what is even more interesting is that humidity seem to intensify this.
Some Tips for Using Temperature to Help You Fall Asleep
If you tend to have trouble falling asleep as the temperatures grow warmer, then you might want to take some steps to experiment with using cooler air to help you rest. The first and most obvious tip for doing this is to set the temperature low on your air conditioner… but this can get expensive in the summer if you tend to experience warmer temperatures in your climate.
Another possibility is to use fans to help move the air around. You can also try to purchase bedding that will wick away moisture and keep you cooler.
Some people buy gel pads for their beds that help to keep them cool as they sleep… though these pads will eventually warm up and cease their cooling effect. But… they can still be useful for getting you to doze off—and sometimes that is really all that is required