The ideal temperature for a restful night’s sleep.
We are a tired nation.
25% of our countrymen complain of frequent inability to experience a complete and restful night’s sleep. One would assume that we would achieve mastery in any endeavor that we’ve devoted about one-third of our life to, but when it comes to sleep approximately 40 million American adults suffer from symptoms of insomnia annually. Why? There are scores of factors, both internal and external, that interplay with one another to determine how sufficiently we slumber. Sleep, and the residual effects it has on our overall well-being, has become more prominent in research studies among doctors and scientists over the past few decades. While the usual suspects that stymie quality rest, such as mattress (dis)comfort, a snoring partner, frequent bathroom trips, etc., are all valid, researchers have discovered the importance of temperature and how it governs sack time.
Most people pay no heed to bedtime temperature settings; while some crack a window, or activate a fan, then leap under the covers. And that works just fine for millions. Then there are the frugal types who strive to keep the thermostat as low as possible during winter nights, then opt for higher settings during the summer months. Well, regardless of climate control methodology, scientists believe they’ve unlocked the ideal sleep temperature and that magic number falls somewhere between 60° to 67℉. When the mercury falls below 54℉, or rises above 75℉, bouts of insomnia are likely to set in.
Though the 60° to 67℉ window is not etched in stone, it is the desired
objective because it corresponds to the human body’s own internal thermostat. A body’s core temperature actually lessens during sleep, reaching its lowest point around 5 A.M., before it begins to climb and to signal the body that the dawn of another day is near and it’s almost time to awake. At night, as we begin to nod off we simultaneously cool off. This temperature fluctuation cycle is called “thermoregulation,” and it dictates how heat is distributed throughout our frame. For instance, sleepiness is fostered by heat redistribution from your core to the extremities. Taking a hot bath about an hour before bed artificially increases body temp, but as you begin to cool down afterward the sensation of sleepiness ensues.
It may sound primitive but specialists suggest that we liken our sleep surroundings to that of a cave: dark, silent, and relatively cool. Gadgets like television or the internet heighten brain activity by “cognitive stimulation” and should be avoided before bed if possible. If sleep continues to elude you after practicing some of the measures in this blog you can always try some old homespun wisdom like a glass of warm milk, keeping a hot water bottle cradled between your legs, or even sleeping naked may do the trick. However, before you enroll in a monitored sleep study try keeping your thermostat in the low-to-mid-sixties for a while.
So, crank the AC at night, enjoy a more restful sleep and improve your health. You just have to convince your significant other to agree to this plan. Good luck with that…