Do you toss and turn at night? Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you didn’t have a night of deep, restful sleep? While there could be many culprits, like caffeine, stress, drugs or diet, it may be something even more innocuous. Your bedroom may be the wrong temperature.
In wintertime, I tend to crank the thermostat up in my drafty apartment, otherwise I’ll never be able to peel myself out from under the covers in the chilly mornings. But I also wake up feeling dehydrated with a dry throat and nose. Not only could lowering the temperature even just one or two degrees alleviate some of these symptoms, but it also might help me sleep more deeply.
Researchers from University of Pittsburgh conducted multiple studies to conclude that those suffering from insomnia get more sleep if their sleeping environment is cooler. Many insomniacs complain that their brain is too active, that they can’t shut down their thought processes at night. Previous studies had led researchers to wonder if this late night pattern of thinking was actually causing the brain to heat up, making it incapable of sleep.
Cooling down the body at night is completely normal. Our natural circadian rhythms actually begin to cool our body down once the sun sets so as to encourage sleep. In fact, melatonin, which the body produces to encourage sleep, partly works to cool down body temperature. With that in mind, researchers gave insomniacs a cold cap to wear and found that not only could they fall asleep as fast as healthy individuals, but they also remained sleeping for around 90 percent of the night. Just a tiny temperature shift can make all the difference in sleep quality.
Sleeping in a cool room can also increase your metabolism. According to one study, men who slept in a cool (not cold) room under a thin sheet increased their quantities of metabolically active brown fat. You’re probably thinking to yourself, I don’t want more fat, but hear me out. Brown fat is actually converted from regular inactive, white fat. Like putting money in a high yield savings account, you’re letting your fat work for you by increasing your metabolic rate. And not only does brown fat help you burn more calories, but it also helps the body regulate blood sugar. Of course, shivering under thin sheets isn’t the recipe for quality sleep. It’s best to find your middle ground, keeping your head cool and your body toasty under some blankets so you can get some proper shuteye.
Let’s be honest, we all look a lot better when we get a solid night of sleep. So what is the perfect sleeping temperature? It ranges for everyone, but on average most studies have shown gains around 60-67 degrees. Save a little on your heating bill by nudging your thermostat slightly downward and let your body reap the benefits.
Source: Jordyn Cormier