Temperature has a direct relationship with sleep and sleep quality. Thanks to new research, this relationship has been investigated to help everyday people make better decisions about where and how they sleep.
Studies indicate that 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (16-19 degrees Celsius) is the optimum bedroom temperature to foster great sleep. Any hotter and sleep scientist Dr Darryl O’Brien says you’re in trouble: “Above this range, thermal stress can cause wakefulness leading to overall decreased sleep time and quality.” Similarly, temperatures below 53 degrees Fahrenheit can make more difficult to fall asleep.
As a human, you’re able to thermoregulate your body temperature (unlike lizards). Your overall temperature is influenced by the outside world as well though, so both internal and external factors are relevant to your overall temperature.
The most dramatic change in your body’s temperature occurs overnight, particularly around 4 am. This drop in temperature is vital for deep restorative sleep to occur.
Neuroscientist Dr. Eus van Someren manipulated shell temperature via thermosuits in an experiment to see if he could improve sleep quality in subjects. He found that subtle skin temperature manipulations made a significant improvement to sleep quality.
Another study showed the largest improvement in thermal comfort and sleep quality was found when cooling was applied to large body sections such as the back and head (Lan et al, 2017).
Because your temperature dips during the night, creating a cool climate at bedtime helps trigger your brain to prepare for sleep, plus cool temperatures allow your body to move through natural sleep cycles; these cycles are vital for quality sleep.
Dr Van den Heuvel from the University of South Australia has investigated how core temperature drops in sleep. He said: “To drop the core temperature, the body needs to act like a radiator, with heat from the central core transferring to areas such as the hands, face and feet, causing the peripheral skin temperature to rise and then lose heat to the surrounding environment.”
An active metabolism is important in glucose metabolism and decreased fat storage which is vital to obesity prevention. A good metabolism is also responsible for improvements in overall health including insulin level maintenance which lessens the risk of diabetes.
Research by the University of Virginia Commonwealth investigated the effect of different room temperatures month on month on the metabolisms of five healthy men. They discovered a 10% rise in fat metabolic activity when exposed to mild cold, plus improvement in their insulin sensitivity.
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Have you ever noticed that your body temperature drops when you mediate or relax? When our parasympathetic nervous system (which governs our rest and digest functions) is switched on, our temperature drops. There is a shift in attention and energy from our external world, to our internal world. It is the state in which our body repairs and rejuvenates itself. Our blood flow moves towards our internal organs which are either repairing themselves or digesting food. Allowing this natural change in temperature to occur, without obstruction, provides the parasympathetic nervous system the opportunity to stay switched on, thus providing a better quality sleep.
Sleeping in a room of around 66 degrees Fahrenheit has been shown to increase your body’s production of melatonin, an important anti-ageing hormone.
Inflammation, oxidative stress from pollution and chemicals, and slowed cell regeneration are causes of accelerated ageing. Luckily, melatonin’s role is to combat these processes to help your skin, organs and cells stay healthier and younger for longer. The optimal temperature means increased melatonin which means a more youthful glow!
Because your skin temperature can affect the regulation of your core temperature, it’s no surprise that mattress design is important in assisting quality sleep. One way of assisting this is through a mattress with the ability to generate airflow within the fibers.
To improve your sleep quality, buy a mattress with clever thermal design, keep your bedroom cool and ensure you allow some air flow on your skin to maintain your shell temperature.