Your sleeping environment has a significant impact on your quality of sleep. Making sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep can improve your quality of rest— slight changes like the temperature of your bedroom can make all the difference. Finding the best temperature for sleeping can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- The Best Temperature for Sleep
- How to Facilitate Restful Sleep
- Tips to Keep the Temperature Consistent
- How Cool Temperatures Affect REM Sleep
- Overview and Conclusion
The Best Temperature for Sleeping
When we fall asleep, our body temperature drops 1 or 2 degrees, this drop in temperature signals your pineal gland to start producing melatonin. Melatonin induces sleep and helps you stay asleep throughout the night. Keeping your bedroom at a lower temperature facilitates the production of melatonin. A cool sleeping environment also prevents certain types of insomnia and boosts your metabolism. A good rule of thumb is to keep your bedroom temperature anywhere between 60 to 67 degrees. For newborns and toddlers, sleep specialists recommend keeping their bedroom temperature between 65 to 70 degrees. Temperatures below 54 and above 75 can impede sleep.1
Sleep specialists at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggest viewing your bedroom like a cave— quiet, cool, and dark.2
Keeping your room at a cool 60 degrees year-round may seem impossible with the costs of air conditioning. If you want to avoid a hefty bill, running floor or ceiling fans can promote a cool sleeping environment. Be sure to adjust the ceiling fan rotation to counter-clockwise; this will lift hot air up and out of the room instead of just blowing it around.
How to Facilitate Restful Sleep
In addition to finding the best AC temperature for sleep, there are steps you can take to keep yourself cool:
Turn off the lights: Light bulbs give off heat. Keeping the lights off in your bedroom will help keep your bedroom cool throughout the day.
Unplug electronics: Even when you’re not using them, your electronics give off heat. Keeping them unplugged when they’re not in use saves you money on your electric bill and cools your room down.3
Use low thread count, cotton sheets: Cotton is breathable and lighter than other materials such as silk or polyester. Additionally, making sure your sheets are a light color and low thread count ensures they won’t trap heat.
Use less bedding: If you have a warmer bedroom we recommend ditching a heavy comforter and sleeping with sheets.
Taking a warm bath or shower before bed helps your body temperature adjust. While showering, your temperature will jump, but as soon as you leave the shower, your body temperature will begin to drop. While your body temperature steadily drops, melatonin production begins, readying your body for sleep.
Invest in blackout curtains: Blackout curtains not only help keep light out, but they promote a cool environment by preventing the morning sun from coming in.
If you’re a hot sleeper, meaning you find yourself overheating while sleeping, we recommend buying low thread count sheets and wearing pajamas made of cotton or linen. Breathable materials help heat move away from your body. We also recommend finding a cooling, breathable mattress. Typically innerspring mattresses and hybrid mattresses are great at promoting a cool sleeping environment. However, they usually don’t compare to memory foam and latex mattresses in regards to contour and support. For the best sleep, we recommend finding the best mattress to support all your needs.4
Tips to Keep the Temperature Consistent
Creating a cool sleeping environment expedites melatonin production to aid in falling asleep, but maintaining a cool temperature throughout the night helps you stay asleep. To keep the temperature consistent, we recommend keeping the windows and blinds in your bedroom closed. Fluctuating temperatures outside can cause the temperatures in your room to shift as well.
How Cool Temperatures Affect REM Sleep
REM sleep is the last stage in the sleep cycle, commonly known as the dreaming stage. When you sleep, your body goes through four phases of sleep.
- First, your body enters into Stage 1 of the sleep cycle. During this stage, you’re becoming drowsy, your brain and muscles relax, and your brain activity slows— this is the lightest stage of sleep.
- During Stage 2, your body temperature decreases. Brain activity during this stage is defined by sleep spindles and K complexes. Sleep spindles quiet your mental processes associated with learning and interpreting information to keep your mind in a tranquil state. The presence of sleep spindles increases after an individual has learned new information or how to do a new task. K Complexes serve as protection against outside stimuli, such as a loud noise, from waking you up. Both sleep spindles and K Complexes help your body transition from a light sleep into a deep sleep. During this stage, it is harder to wake up.4
- Stage 3 is the first stage of deep sleep. This stage is considered the most restorative, and its brain activity is defined by slow delta waves.
- Next, comes REM sleep. Characterized by rapid eye movements and active brain waves, REM sleep is associated with learning and actively interpreting and organizing the information taken in during the day, helping you retain new information.5 These mental processes are vital for your overall well-being and health.6
When the temperature in your room is not conducive for sleep, it can cause you to repeatedly wake up throughout the night, preventing you from entering into more restorative sleep stages such as Stage 3 and REM sleep. Being deprived of restorative sleep can negatively impact both cognitive and physical health.
Overview of The Best Temperature for Sleep
The temperature of your bedroom can make or break your quality of sleep. If you don’t have it just right, it can cause you to wake up too hot or too cold. Interrupted sleep can wreak havoc on mental and physical processes, preventing your body from getting the restorative sleep it needs to ready itself for a new day. Keep temperatures cool by adjusting the AC or strategically setting up some fans in your bedroom.
We recommend practicing good sleep hygiene and keeping a sleep journal. Documenting your sleep environment, when you fall asleep, how frequently you wake up, and how rested you feel upon waking up will help you keep track of your quality of sleep and pinpoint areas for improvement.