Bedroom Temperature and Sleep Quality

In households everywhere, the battle over the thermostat is in full swing as temperatures plummet. What is comfortable to one person is frigid to another.  The situation becomes more intense for couples sharing a bedroom, especially if one partner may be generating their own “power surge”.   To facilitate a compromise, it helps to have all the facts and in this case, scientific research leans towards maintaining a somewhat cooler sleeping temperature at night to promote a better quality of rest. 

According to a recent Ask Dr. Hamblin post in The Atlantic, quality of sleep can be improved by keeping the bedroom colder – between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6C – 19.4C).  Cooler sleeping temperatures are associated with greater alertness the next morning and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  Sleep experts debate about the ideal bedroom temperature for optimal sleep, but authorities hover around 64 to 65 degrees as best for deep, restorative sleep that supports health and cognitive function. Turning the thermostat down also helps to save money on heating bills, reduce dry skin and sinuses and lessen air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels.  

If turning down the heat to 65 degrees or lower at night is just too cold for one partner or housemate, the National Sleep Foundation suggests sleeping in socks or using a hot water bottle at the foot of the bed.  Sleeping with a warm hat, or adding another layer of bedding can also make sleeping in a cool bedroom more comfortable. 

When trying to work towards achieving a lower sleeping temperature, it’s best to start gradually moving towards the “ideal” bedroom setting.  Perhaps a cozy new pair of socks or heavy blanket will help ease the transition for the always-cold housemate.  With the price of fuel lately, maybe bed jackets will make a comeback? 

Other ways to improve sleep include getting outside for natural sunlight or at the least, sitting by a window in the morning to help regulate the circadian rhythm.  Regular exercise, limiting daytime napping, and avoiding eating too close to bedtime can also help promote restful, restorative sleep.  Turning off screens an hour before bedtime and unwinding with a warm decaffeinated drink, reading, or listening to music is also beneficial to support a good night’s sleep. 

Read more about how temperature influences the quality of sleep by following this link to a recent Health Essentials post by the Cleveland Clinic.