When summertime rolls around, it can be easy to lose sleep to the heat and night sweats. Why is that, though? Well, it all has to do with the science of sleep.
Why temperature affects our sleep
You see, when we rest, our body temperature actually lowers a little bit. So, having a warmer sleeping environment makes it that much harder to fall asleep. It’s not just the ability to fall (and stay) asleep that temperatures affect, though. In fact, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep quality can be disrupted by uncomfortable room temperatures, too. Importantly, scientists believe that REM sleep is important for both memory consolidation and brain development. Therefore, reaching that optimal temp is necessary to not just get enough rest, but also to get quality rest.
So, just what is the best temperature for sleep?
The answer to that question will vary by individual, as different bodies prefer different temperatures. After all, core body temperatures vary among individuals, and factors like age and sex can influence thermoregulation and temperature preferences as well.
A commonly recommended range is 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. However, more and more people are beginning to advocate for even colder temperatures, recommending ranges of 60 to 67 degrees for adults.[2,3]
Doheny, K. (2010). Can’t sleep? Adjust the temperature. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/cant-sleep-adjust-the-temperature#1
Drerup, M. (2018). What is the ideal sleeping temperature for my bedroom? Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-the-ideal-sleeping-temperature-for-my-bedroom/
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019). Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep