What’s Your Optimal Sleep Temperature?

The temperature of your bedroom can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. A National Sleep Foundation poll established that room temperature was one of the most significant considerations for getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, both body and room temperature can play a critical part in the quality of the sleep you get, and further research has shown how to find just the right balance.

Suppose you’re interested in exploring the ideal sleep temperature. In that case, this blog will help you to understand how temperature affects your sleep, the importance of the best room temperature, and some tips to sleep better every night. We’ll guide you through the perfect bedroom temperature for various age groups and discuss achieving that “ideal” temperature and enhancing your sleep health.

Before proceeding, did you know that body temperature is directly connected to sleep?
Generally, a person’s body temperature will vary during the day but barely by one or two degrees. Thermoregulation is the body’s knack for sustaining a specific internal temperature. However, the body’s temperature falls approximately two hours before bedtime. This drop is normal and helps tell the body that it’s time for sleep.

The circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock, manages these temperature variations, along with many other vital physiological patterns. Research has discovered, however, that our thermoregulation capabilities aren’t as robust as we age.
Thermoregulation is essential for sleep onset, and with numerous adults describing sleep of inferior quality as they age, there’s likely a connection. This is also why the elderly are thought to be more susceptible when it’s particularly hot or cold out.

That said, it’s crucial to be aware that while reduced thermoregulation may play a role in sleep deteriorating with age, there are various other reasons for sleep problems in older adults, such as lop-sided sleep-wake schedules, caffeine, medications, and sleep disorders.

Normal adult sleep temperature requirements

For starters, for many adults, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60 to 67 degrees F. However, this can be more difficult during those hot summer nights. If your bedroom is too warm for you to sleep comfortably, there are steps you can take to help knock down the temperature. These might be time-worn tips, but they are still very effective.

  • Close your blinds during the day. Concealing your bedroom from the hot sunlight throughout the day should help it stay cooler overall. This is particularly essential for those who work overnight and must sleep during daylight hours.
  • Fine-tune the bedroom windows to conform to the outside temperature. If it’s hot outside, shut the windows to keep the warm air outside the room. On the other hand, if it’s cooler outside, open your windows to allow the breeze to flow in.
  • Make good use of a fan. You can employ a fan to keep the air moving but ensure it’s not aimed directly at your body, which might cause sore muscles and headaches.
  • Sleep at the home’s lowest level, if possible. Heat naturally rises, so if you reside in a multi-story home and have trouble sleeping, try sleeping on the bottom floor.
  • Sleep in breathable pajamas. Shop for pajamas that feature cooler fabrics such as cotton and linen.
  • Make use of cooling bedding and any add-ons. Temperature-controlling sheets and pillows can help you remain comfy. You might also investigate a good cooling mattress. However, various mattress types and materials have fluctuating thermal properties. Memory foam mattresses usually sleep much hotter as this type of particular foam locks in heat (unless they include cooling gels). In contrast, hybrid or innerspring mattresses typically perform much better as a result of better airflow from the coils.

This is all good information, but we live in Pittsburgh, so there are also those winter nights to consider.

During winter evenings, particularly in areas where most of us reside, it’s suggested to keep the room a bit warmer to adapt to the occasional sizable drops in temperature overnight. Some people might find it more difficult to fall asleep during the winter, especially if they’re not hot sleepers, so here are a few tips. Again, they might be considered time-worn but still beneficial.

  • Layer up. Wearing several layers is a simple yet efficient way to keep your body warm during colder winter evenings. You also need to consider the fabric of your pajamas, given that certain materials are naturally cooling and may not be the best choice for the winter. In this instance, look to wear fleece or wool pajamas for that bit of added warmth.
  • Drink hot tea. Consuming hot tea prior to bedtime can warm you up and help you unwind at night.
  • Use additional blankets. Throwing an extra blanket or two over you at night will help you warm up more quickly. You might think about investing in an electric blanket. Obviously, it’s crucial to be as safe as possible when utilizing an electric blanket since they’re certainly not an ideal solution for particular groups, such as pets, children, older adults, and pregnant women.
  • Wear socks. We lose plenty of heat through our feet, which means keeping them insulated can help confine the warmth. Thicker wool socks can be a huge extra for cold winter nights.

Normal sleep temperatures for the elderly

The metabolism of the senior citizen will be significantly different than a mid-aged adult, especially when compared to younger people who are continually growing. As a person grows older, their metabolism will simply slow down, so they frequently want to be in warmer spaces. (Hint: Florida)

The chief reason that controlling the temperature in the room where an elderly person is sleeping is due to their own body losing its ability to preserve a constant temperature. Obviously, this could result from their age or even a health concern, making it tough for them to remain warm at all times.

True, you could simply provide more blankets, but it’s healthier to have a room adjusted to the correct temperature.

So, what is the optimal temperature for an elderly person to sleep?

The ideal temperature range is 66 to 70 degrees F.

The best approach to maintaining a constant temperature within any household for the elderly is to install an HVAC system. An updated HVAC system will feature a thermostat that they can clearly control easily or a user-friendly digital display. It can display various readings for the room, including temperature, humidity, and other indoor circumstances. They can also be linked to a smartphone if your elderly person prefers using smart devices.

It’s essential to place sensors in spaces where the senior will spend most of his/her time. On balance, the thermostat can’t obtain a precise temperature reading if they aren’t located in spaces where the senior person will be most active. The same is true for locating sensors in the room where they will sleep.

What is the ideal sleeping temperature for babies?

The best sleeping temperature for babies and toddlers is a bit higher, between 65 and 70 degrees F.

“Sleeping on the warmer end of the ideal sleep temperature scale is more conducive for those with smaller bodies that are still developing,” says sleep psychologist Dr. Michelle Drerup. “They are not yet able to regulate their body temperature like adults can.”

Keep your baby’s bedroom temperature too warm, however, and you risk overheating. Have your child wear something breathable and comfortable to sleep in, and try to limit the number of blankets in the crib. Choosing a quiet, dark room for babies to sleep in is also prudent.

If you’re worried about your child being too hot while asleep, touch the back of their neck or stomach to test your concern. If their skin is sweaty, remove a layer or slightly lessen the room temperature.

However, a bedroom that’s too warm may boost the threat of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Using the correct sleepwear, ensuring a beneficial temperature by setting the thermostat, and avoiding heavy blankets or multiple layers are advised.

Again, parents can monitor their baby’s temperature during the night by touching the stomach or the back of the neck.

Here are some other suggestions for a good night’s sleep not mentioned above.

  • The bedroom ought to be well-ventilated. A natural, well-ventilated room is meaningful in providing great sleep quality, particularly in between the changing seasons. In addition, many discover that sleeping in a room with fresh air is quite comfortable.
  • Give some thought to showering before bed in the evening. A shower can cool your body before going to sleep, helping you go to sleep faster and for a longer period of time. Experts suggest showering at least one or two hours before going to bed.

How, then, does temperature impact sleep?

Let’s face it; we’ve all gone through a miserable night’s sleep at one time or another. We awaken the next morning feeling dazed and irritable, moving at a snail’s pace and looking forward to the minute we can once again climb into bed, shut our eyes, and get some much-needed rest.

As you might expect, several factors influence our sleeping habits, one being temperature.

Sleeping too hot

When we are asleep, our core body temperature declines as part of the sleep initiation process, so you may crave the heat to get warm and comfy under the covers. But, if your bedroom temperature is too high or too humid, you’ll likely be subjected to more restlessness and have even more difficulty falling or staying asleep.

“Heat is a huge disruptor of sleep,” says Dr. Drerup. With the room’s heat, your body temperature will also increase, interrupting sleep initiative.

To summarize, if your bedroom temperature is above 70 degrees, it’s simply too hot.

Sleeping too cold

On the flip side, sleeping in a cold environment also has its disadvantages. It probably won’t affect your sleep cycles as dramatically as sleeping too hot, but it could lead to added health concerns.

“When we’re cold, our body kicks into high gear to try and get us warm again,” says Dr, Drerup.

She adds that blood vessels are constricted, and breathing becomes shallower, putting added pressure on our cardiovascular system to get our body temperatures synchronized again.

Again, to sum it up, if your bedroom temperature is below 60 degrees, it’s too cold.

Does ideal sleep temperature change with age?

As noted, as we age, our bodies go through numerous changes – one being, as we’ve described, a drop in body temperature and another, a decrease in melatonin (a hormone released at night associated with sleep control) and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. You may need to alter your sleeping temperature depending on your body, but you should keep away from changing it too severely one way or another. Talk with your doctor to see if your sleep temperature should be modified.

We hope this blog has provided you with some good information about the proper sleep temperature. If you should need any help in employing a smart thermostat or other such devices to better regulate your home’s temperature, please contact the HVAC professionals at Schultheis Brothers.