Sleep has become elusive for many people. In fact, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as one in three people are not getting adequate hours of sleep every night.
By now, everyone is aware that sleep is necessary for a strong and healthy body and mind. Long-term, not getting enough hours of good quality sleep will lead to serious health conditions, including type-2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and depression. A growing number of studies have also linked lack of sleep to an increased risk of dementia.
However, many factors are preventing adults from sleeping at least seven hours every night. Now that the weather is getting colder outdoors, here is one that homeowners should be wary about: ambient indoor temperature.
Hot Rooms Can Disrupt Sleep
It is uncomfortable to sleep in a cold room. You will have to wrap yourself in a thick blanket to feel comfortable, but you might still shiver even then. There is a temptation to crank the thermostat up to make the room warm and toasty. However, experts are discouraging homeowners from doing that.
A room becoming too hot will also wake you up in the middle of the night.
A few hours before you go to bed, your body starts to lower your core temperature. This is controlled by the circadian rhythm, the internal clock that your body follows 24/7 and is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. This process of the core temperature dropping makes you feel sleepy when it is time for bed and makes you stay asleep throughout the night.
This is because your body associates warmth with alertness. After all, during the day, humans should be under the sun.
During the night, as part of the preparation for sleep, the body reroutes warmth to the extremities. The skin’s blood vessels grow larger to allow the release of heat, lowering your core temperature. When your core temperature drops, that is when you start to feel sleepy.
However, when the ambient temperature is hot, the body struggles to release excess heat. Your core temperature, therefore, does not drop, and you will not feel drowsy.
So, it makes more sense to keep the room a little cooler when you are off to bed. According to experts, the ideal temperature for people to fall asleep quicker and through the night is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything beyond in both directions will be uncomfortable.
Getting That Perfect Temperature
Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the ambient temperature is perfect for you to fall asleep every night.
Homeowners should consider installing smart thermostats. These devices are known for providing convenience and aiding in energy and money savings, but they can also be tools that will lead to better sleep.
The Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, considered one of the best in the market, monitors the environment and can automatically adjust the ambient temperature. This way, the house is always comfortable – never too warm or cold. Additionally, it has a function specifically for sleep that will lower the temperature when it is time for bed.
Homeowners should also regularly schedule a furnace tune-up which includes testing and calibrating the thermostat. This simple task can save lives by preventing health and safety risks caused by a dirty air filter and high levels of carbon monoxide. Moreover, it ensures that the thermostat is accurate.
People should also use bedding that is appropriate for the weather. Typically, natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool, and silk provide breathability to circulate air. Polyester, which is an artificial fabric, is very common but not ideal for sleep. It is not breathable at all. It traps heat and moisture underneath and will keep you up at night. Invest in good-quality bed covers and blankets.
It is also important to wear the right type of clothing for sleep. Like bedding, opt for natural, breathable fabrics. During fall and winter, people tend to wear thick clothing to stay warm. Find the right balance between staying warm and cozy without being too hot, especially before bed.
Temperature is not often considered a major factor that improves the quality of sleep. However, as studies have shown, it influences whether you sleep peacefully throughout the night or remain awake until the sun rises.
The human body uses ambient temperature as an indicator for the sleep-wake cycle. A cool environment will help you feel drowsy and ensure that you stay asleep for at least seven hours every night.