Temperature For Sleep

Updated on May 12, 2018

Are you struggling to sleep? There are a lot of factors that come into play when determining the reasons behind your insomnia. One of the things you should consider, though, is the temperature in your bedroom.

This can be tricky, simply because different people sleep well at different temperatures. Thus, you and your partner may have different needs when it comes to the temperature that is ideal for your sleep. However, there are various ways you can work through these issues so you both can sleep well.

What is Your Ideal Sleeping Temperature?

Sleep science says that you will sleep better when your bedroom is cooler, probably between 60 and 65 degrees. For most people, this means keeping your home cooler at night than you would during the day. This can feel counterintuitive. Since it usually cools down at night, people often feel the need to heat their homes to maintain them at the same temperatures they’re at during the day.

However, on an evolutionary level, it makes sense that we would sleep better when it’s cooler. After all, we didn’t always have the option of central heating. For much of human history, sleep coincided with lower outdoor temperatures. Thus, it makes sense that we adapted in such a way that we sleep our best when its cooler.

Why So Cold?

Many people suffer confusion when they learn that they should probably be sleeping with their rooms cooler. However, when you look at what happens when we sleep, it makes sense.

As the body sleeps, its temperature drops. This happens to everyone, across the world. It’s part of the circadian rhythm, like having an internal thermostat that is connected to a clock.

However, the causal connection between sleep and lower body temperatures seems to run both ways. Yes, sleep causes a person’s core temperature to drop, but a drop in core temperature also causes us to sleep.
Research shows that people who have a higher core temperature tend to struggle with insomnia. If they can’t cool down at bedtime, they struggle to fall asleep. If the body starts to heat early, people wake early and can’t go back to sleep. And if the body can’t cool overnight, sleep can be fitful and difficult all night long. In fact, there’s a chance that thermodisregulation is at fault more often than we think when it comes to insomnia.

When the room temperature is lower, it’s easier for the body to lower its core temperature and, thus, easier for us to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get the deep sleep that we need to heal, organize the brain, and function well all day long.

Bedroom temperature can also affect the quality of REM sleep that you get. When you’re in a REM cycle, you are usually dreaming. In fact, your body acts like it is awake in many ways. However, your core temperature does not mimic wakefulness. If it does begin to rise, you may pop out of REM sleep, skip that cycle altogether, or get less REM sleep than you need.

Lower bedroom temperatures also improve sleep apnea, enhance recovery in elite athletes, and help you get more of the deep, slow wave sleep that makes you feel rested and ready for the day.

Sleeping cold may not feel natural, but it should help you sleep better. Be sure not to sleep too cold, though. Bedroom temperatures below about 60 degrees will be too cold to facilitate the best kinds of sleep. And if you and your partner just can’t agree, try buying a cooling mattress pad for one side of the bed, so you can both get the sleep you need for optimal human functioning.