Sleep is a strange thing. It seems like we all have our ideal conditions for the perfect night of rest and deep sleep. We know exactly how much light we want, with or without a night-light. We keep the blinds and shades just right, so that early morning rays don't disturb our slumber.
Some people even wear ear plugs to block out all sound, while others prefer the soft hum of a mister or a low-volume radio in the background.
What's missing from this beautiful puzzle? Temperature! We're all experts on sound and light but too often forget about the one thing that affects every square millimeter of our body's surface: ambient air temperature.
It's important to understand some of the numbers behind ideal room temperature, that vital sensory component of deep, rejuvenating, replenishing sleep.
Do you know the ideal sleeping temperature for the human body? For most adults, though everyone is a bit different, it's between 15 and 22 degrees Centigrade (or 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Sleep Foundation.
We call this list, "Top tips, helpful hints, and phenomenal facts about finding your personal best, ideal sleep temperature." Study it carefully and you'll discover your best temperature for sleep, namely the perfect room temperature for drifting off to never-never land, night after glorious night.
In no particular order, here's what you need to know to achieve the room temperature that's most conducive to sleep:
Pillows are more important than you think. A dense one makes your heat too warm and a thin one doesn't provide enough support. Find one that's just right for you and use a breathable, cotton cover for cool comfort.
Sock It To Me
In winter, you'll sleep better if you wear socks. They help your body retain necessary heat and keep temperatures stable.
The Joys of "Sleep Mode"
If your home air conditioning unit has a "sleep mode" function, you're in luck because you'll sleep better. This clever little mechanical app helps your maintain a cool room temperature, or whatever your ideal room temperature is during the dead of night.
The Best Temperature for Sleep
Our bodies cool down when we sleep. They don't need to stay warm because they're in low-activity mode. That's why so many people feel cool when they wake up in the morning and a little warmish as they fall asleep at night.
Many people find that a cup of decaf tea a few hours before bed is a good way to sleep more deeply from bedtime to the morning alarm. A nightly ritual of herbal tea and a bit of easy stretching can help the body adjust to a slower, more relaxed pace.
Layer It On Me
During the depths of winter, consider wearing layered clothing when you retire. The beauty of layering is that if you become too warm during the night, you can simply remove the outer item and then go back to sleep. Wearing a thick, heavy set of sweats can feel comfortable when you first fall asleep, but it's possible to wake up in a sweat.
Ground Floor Opportunities
Heat rises, so if you prefer to sleep in a cooler environment, consider keeping your bedroom on the ground floor of your home. Of course, if you have an aircon system that can maintain a set temperature in any room, you can sleep anyplace you want, even the kitchen, but we don't recommend doing so.
There's a science and an art to blanket management. For the ultimate in body temperature control all night long, consider have both a thin sheet and a thicker covering available and always within reach. No matter the season, those two items can serve to keep your core body temp where it needs to be.
Choose your mattress carefully. Cushioned ones don't hold much heat and can leave you feeling too cool during the night. Memory-type mattresses tend to hold body heat and often cause people to feel overly warm. Shop for a mattress that's somewhere in between those two extremes and you'll sleep more soundly.
Leaving the windows open when it's neither too cold or too hot outdoors is a great way to enjoy fresh air throughout the night. Better yet, run a fan or put your air conditioning system to "fan" mode while the windows are open. That way, you'll be sure to benefit from maximum air circulation all night long, even if you're not camping.
A Good Book
Reading for a few minutes after you get in bed lets the body slowly adjust to cooler core temperatures in preparation for a long night's sleep. Reading also helps the mind relax and can become part of a routine that helps you fall asleep quickly.
Here's a common myth: If you're having trouble sleeping, all you need to do is adjust lighting, temperature, or sound, and you'll be fine. The fact is that if you experience recurring difficulty with sleep, you might be suffering from a medical disorder. Speak with your health care professional if you suspect this might pertain to you.
So, what is the best temperature for sleep or is the entire concept just one gigantic myth, like gold at the end of the rainbow or Elvis still living in the basement of Graceland? Truth be told, there is an ideal room temperature, but it's different for each person. For some it's a cool room temperature and for others, a warm reading on the thermometer.
Whatever room temperature is your goal, take action to make it happen. Don't linger in half-asleep land any longer. Use the cool (no pun intended) suggestions and factoids above to create your new life of healthful rest. You have the power to control most of the factors that affect how well you sleep and how quickly you fall under the Sandman's spell.
Just remember the secret: temperature plays a much larger role in your nightly sleep comfort than you probably suspect. Use one, some, or all of the suggestions above to make your nighttime slumber the very best it can be. Have pleasant dreams.