Healthy Sleep

How Temperature Affects the Quality of Sleep

Every person has their own preference of how cold or how warm their room temperature is when they sleep. Some people like sleeping in a cold environment, while others prefer sleeping in a warm and cosy bedroom.

The temperature of your bedroom can sometimes impact your quality of sleep as much as the comfort of your mattress, and being too hot or cold can disrupt a good night’s sleep.

There is no ideal temperature that works for everyone, but different room temperatures can cause different effects on the quality of sleep.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at how temperature affects your sleep quality and how you can find the best temperature for your sleep environment.

Your body temperature shifts as you sleep

Looking into our body's natural circadian rhythm or sleep cycles, our core temperature drops at least 1-2 degrees celsius as a means to cool down our system.

The drop in your core body temperature places your body in a state of drowsiness, sometimes a feeling of fatigue, which eventually puts your body at rest or deep sleep.

As you enter the deep sleep stage, your heart rate also slows down, contributing to the overall feeling of rest and recovery.

Cooling your body temperature is one of the most critical factors during sleep; straying away from your optimal temperature may lead to disruption in your slumber.

What happens if the temperature is too hot?

During hot Aussie summers, your bedroom temperature may become far from ideal. In some cases, the room temperature might be higher than your core body temperature.

As mentioned earlier, your body has to cool down to enter the natural sleep stages, so sleeping in a hot environment can easily cause discomfort and may keep you awake.

When your room is too hot at night, you may find it harder to fall asleep. You could be sweating, or moving around to try and find a cool position, but the general discomfort of the heat tends to keep people awake. 

Apart from the general discomfort during the time of wakefulness, your sleep cycle is also affected.

Sleeping in a hot environment may cause you to be restless during your sleep; the restlessness may lead to a decrease in your REM sleep (rapid eye movement).

The REM sleep of our sleep cycle is tied to our brain's stimulation, which generally affects our mental well-being and health.

Another disadvantage of sleeping in a hot bedroom environment is that it causes you to wake up more often in the middle of the night, reducing your sleep quality.

Waking up often during the night may not only be disruptive to your sleep, but it may also affect your partner's sleep quality if you share a bed.

It's best to sleep with the air conditioning on and with the thermostat set to comfortably cool temperatures during the warmer climates if you find you are struggling with this.

What happens if my bedroom temperature is too cold?

Sleeping in a colder room does not automatically equate to better sleep, but it definitely helps and is also easier to adapt to.

Generally speaking, low room temperature won't directly affect your sleep cycle and different sleep stages.

As your body attempts to lower its internal temperature when you sleep, if your bedroom is cool this will help the process.

But, when it gets too cold, your body will attempt to warm itself up and generate heat - this is why we shiver when we're cold.

Shivering as a warming mechanism may also lead you to wake up in the middle of the night; this may be to look for a warmer blanket or to turn off your air conditioning.

Then again, when you compare a room that's too hot from a room that's too cold, the cooler room will provide you with a more comfortable sleeping temperature. It’s much easier to add more layers to stay warm than it is to remove them to keep cool.

It’s up to you to figure out what works best for you. Play with heating and cooling temperature settings, mix up your bedding, and you may find what feels right. 

Tips to achieve the perfect sleep temperature

Set a timer for your heater or air conditioner

Cooling your room is most important right before you sleep; turning your air conditioning on allows your body to lower your internal temperature and lets you fall asleep faster.

Setting a timer for your air conditioner ensures that your room does not get too cold in the middle of the night, which may disrupt your sleep pattern.

Don't set the timer too soon, as that may cause your nighttime temperature to warm up too soon; find the perfect balance and duration for your air conditioner to run.

In winter it works the same - you don’t want your heater on all night keeping you overly warm. Either turn it off right before bed or set the timer to shortly after you fall asleep. 

Find the perfect sleepwear

What you wear during your sleep can significantly affect how you feel with your bedroom's temperature.

Lightweight cotton or bamboo are preferred materials for sleepwear during warmer nights as they are highly breathable. Flannel pyjamas will be nice and cosy during the cold winter nights.

Wearing socks during sleep can also help significantly during winter, so this can also be considered as a way to warm your body temperature.

Shower before you sleep

Immediately after getting out of a shower, your body's internal temperature automatically goes down regardless of whether you had a cold or a hot shower.

The lowering of your core temperature is similar to how your body lowers its temperature during sleep, thereby creating the association of sleepiness in your brain.

Make sure your bed cools you well

Some mattresses and bedding materials may feel warm and non-breathable; these materials aren't the best in creating the perfect sleeping environment.

Some examples of materials to be avoided are polyesters, and synthetic materials as these materials can warm up your bed unnecessarily.

When purchasing a bed, ensure that the mattress material allows for breathability and cooling, as sweating during the night time causes discomfort prior to sleep.

Some materials like bamboo fibres are ideal to use as beddings since the material itself is breathable, and on warmer nights, bamboo fibres perform excellently in wicking away moisture.

Summary

Your sleep environment directly translates to how you sleep, so make sure you figure out the right temperature for you, especially as we come into summer here in Australia. 

Explore different ways wherein you can have your room set to temperatures that aren't too hot and aren't too cold, and you would find yourself sleep quality being better than ever.

If you think your bed sheets are too thick and stuffy, check out Ecosa’s bamboo bedding range! The silky material is breathable and will keep you cool all night long.