What’s the best temperature for sleep? If you want to live longer, have more energy and have your brain, hormones and immune system still working, here’s one idea for better sleep.
A big key to longevity is great sleep. We do our repairs at night and make hormones, enzymes and other supplies we use up during the day. With poor sleep we will have digestive, hormone, immune, and energy problems. And we won’t make new cells to replace dead or aging ones.
We need enough sleep (some say 6 to 8 hours, but I need 8 – 9). We need to be asleep early (preferably before 10) as the gall bladder does some serious homework from 11 PM to 1 AM. We need 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep for the adrenals to recharge. (This is why disturbed-by-the-baby sleep makes us SOOO tired and stupid so quickly. I think this is an Evolutionary Flaw, don’t you?)
What’s the Best Temperature for Sleep?
How cool should your bedroom be? Research shows cold may be best. Why?
On planet Earth, darkness is the primary signal for sleep in Humans (it’s wake-up time for opossums and other nocturnals), but the change in temperature is another signal. We have two big changes after sunset – it’s dark and it’s cool, right?
Lowering the thermostat helps trigger the hormonal and neurotransmitter signals for the sleep cycle. We cool down and we sleep better… Studies show that we sleep best at 60 – 70 degrees. This may be because average night Earth temperatures range near 60.
I set my thermostat to drop an additional degree around 3 AM. The house is getting stuffy around that time, and humidity can rise, bringing up the molds. Having cool dry air helps keep the humidity where dust mites and molds are not so happy. Less allergens means better breathing and easier sleep.
What about warm baths at night?
Some people like warm baths in the evening to help them fall asleep. Our body temp drops after the bath, and this is a useful “it’s night and cooler now” signal. Personally, I just set the thermostat. And, my bedroom happens to be the coldest room in the house. Lucky me! (Note: your AC company can adjust airflow seasonally by making changes in your ducts and/or air vents).
If your bedroom is upstairs, you’re definitively fighting the laws of physics, as hot air WILL rise. So keep your door shut and use an auxiliary AC if needed. It will be much cheaper than running the whole house AC and keep the best temperature for sleep.
Warm covers (and even socks) are fine, but our heads and brains like the cooler air. The combo of an utterly dark bedroom and a nice cool dry environment will help us get to sleep and stay there.
One last PS…. Synthetic fibers in your bedding, mattress cover, pillow, etc. will make you clammy, and disturb the temperature regulation systems of the Hypothalamus. Stick to all natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, wool, and silk. Get a 100% cotton mattress cover (including the filling – no poly!) to give you a breathable layer of air between you and your mattress. You’ll be surprised at the difference this can make. I prefer latex for my mattress and pillow, as no dust mites grow in them and they are much less toxic than pressure-foam.
For more on healthy sleep, read this blog post. For help calming your brain, my two favorite supplements are here. Here’s a 2011 Podcast on sleep and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). And check the May 2014 podcast too!
So CHILL OUT and get some rest.