What Is the Best Temperature for Sleeping?
Sleep is essential for our health and well-being; science has shown it time and again. And the best temperature for sleeping is essential for a good night’s sleep. But temperature, it turns out, is all things to all people. Even the same temperature can feel wildly different to the same person in different circumstances!
When you’re sometimes hot despite wearing light clothes, or cold even when dressed in your warmest coat, you’re not crazy. You’re just not taking into account all the elements in the environment that actually shape what we call hot or cold. So, with things so hard to pin down, how do you find the ideal temperature for sleeping?
Why Sleep Matters
Sleeping is a hugely important part of your life. In fact, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping – and not because we’re lazy, but because we need to. Sleep reduces inflammation, stress, the risk of cancer and depression. It makes you healthier, improves your memory, and even helps you stay lean or lose weight.
People who do not sleep enough have a higher incidence of obesity, reduced brain function, are at greater risk of stroke and heart disease, diabetes, depression, and other health problems.
There’s no question: we need all the help we can get to have a good night’s sleep – every night.
Really? Is There a Best Temperature for Sleeping?
Yes, really. The predictors for a good night’s sleep are light, noise, and temperature. For the first factors, things are self-explanatory: no light, no noise – or as close to these ideal conditions as you can get.
However, where the temperature is concerned, we don’t just hit on the right answer when the question comes up. We tend to say “The best temperature for sleeping is whatever feels comfortable to me”, which is tantamount to saying “I do what I’m used to, regardless of whether it can be improved or not”.
In fact, while there is no figure as such that can be attached to the idea of a “best temperature for sleeping”, there are key elements you should consider when setting your thermostat for the night.
Why 75° Is Both Hot and Cool
Have you noticed how 75 degrees are sometimes hot and sometimes cool, depending on what we’re talking about? 75°F water is a bit on the cold side for a swimmer, but 75°F air feels warm. 75° in Las Vegas, the driest city in the U.S., is quite tolerable, whereas 75° in Tampa Bay, one of the most humid places in the U.S., feels unpleasantly hot for most people not born and raised in this weather.
How we feel the temperature is determined, then, by factors such as thermal radiation (being directly exposed to a source of heat, like the sun), by humidity, by the wind, by the conductivity of the water or air etc.
This is all to say one thing: there is no set temperature for all the people on earth, but you should find your sweet spot and adjust the temperature when you can.
Drop It Low
The Western world seems to have a love affair with warmth. Now that we’ve discovered we can heat our homes, we heat our homes to excess just because we can. Then we feel uncomfortable and don’t know why.
Every single source out there teaches us one thing about the ideal sleeping temperature: it’s lower than you think. In Florida, we tend to be slightly put off when the temperature drops below 72°F, when, in fact, the science of sleep indicates the ideal temperature in your room at night should be no higher than 67°F – with a couple of degrees’ allowance for individual preferences.
Setting the Temperature on Your Thermostat
If you have a centralized HVAC system, you will find it slightly harder, but not impossible, to adjust your home’s temperature to cater to specific needs.
For instance, young children may need slightly higher temperatures, though the issue is still under debate. On the other hand, for older people the best temperature for sleeping is indeed higher as they lose fat layers with age and need to compensate for them.
If such adjustments need to be made around the house, you can either close the vents in some rooms or use different bedding for different people.
For a ductless or zoned system, temperature preferences are obviously easier to control in individual areas.
Either way, try to gradually bring down your bedroom’s temperature. Think of how your body goes to sleep: during stage 1 of your sleep cycle, the body temperature decreases a little to help you slow down your processes and enter deep sleep. The temperature of your environment should be comfortable enough for you and also modeled after this systemic process of gently taking everything down a notch.
If you need help in zoning your air conditioning, setting up a ductless ac system, checking the accuracy of your thermostat, setting up heat/cool cycles on a daily schedule, adjusting airflow etc, we’ll be happy to help. Contact us for free estimates and second opinions, or just schedule a service call to take care of any HVAC problems. Better sleep included!