The Ideal Temperature for Sleep, According to Science

Some of us like the covers off, dangling our exposed legs over the side of the bed. Others like to cocoon themselves in, ensuring not a single hint of cold air finds our bare limbs. But, what is the ultimate temperature for catching those all-important zzzs?

According to the experts, a slightly cooler room will lull you into your best sleep. Per the Sleep Council, body heat peaks in the evening before dropping to its lowest levels when you reach the land of nod, which is why they recommend a 16-18 degree (celsius) bedroom. Anything over 24 degrees will cause frustration and restlessness, while a slightly cooler room will make it harder to doze off, affecting the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep–aka, the time in which we have the highest brain activity.

These sleep stages are crucial to our mental processes, and when they are incomplete, can affect our cognitive brain functions concerning decision making.

In addition, a cooler bedroom is ideal for...

Increasing our metabolism 

Metabolism gives us energy through what our bodies store. Cooler sleeping temperatures increases the fat we store, which helps us burn calories. Studies show that lowering temps before bed, and keeping your skin at a neutral temperature (which is not too warm) is the most effective for metabolic rates.

Regulating our natural melatonin levels

Rooms between 16 and 18 degrees support the body in its production of melatonin. While it helps to promote sleep, melatonin is an anti-ageing hormone, and is linked with regulating menstrual cycles, aiding weight loss, and enhancing our moods. In addition, lack of sleep can lead to wrinkles and dark circles for those who aren’t getting the required eight hours. Sleep is a time for the body to heal, renew and detox our skin. 

Alleviating insomnia 

According to research out of the University of South Australia, a cooler bedroom can help those suffering from insomnia. Dr. Cameron Van den Heuvel say, that “temperature regulation plays a significant role in sleep onset insomnia and sleep maintenance insomnia.”

Commonly, insomniacs have a warmer body temperature, which means, they have to wait to lose heat that keeps interrupting their sleep (which is why a cooler room can aid in a drop of temperature leading to a better night’s rest.)

If you are concerned about your health or wellbeing, your first port of call should be your GP, who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan. 

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