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What is the Best Temperature for Sleep?

What is the Best Temperature for Sleep?

It’s the bane of many people’s nights – trying to reach a comfortable temperature to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Some people can get too hot and need a way to cool down, whereas others are always too cold and need to warm up. Add in the ever-changing British weather and a potential partner (why are they always too hot or cold compared to you?!); then it can be a real task getting to sleep and, more importantly, staying asleep.

It's something that most of us will complain about at least once or many times if we’re experiencing a heat wave or a cold snap, but it’s something we all need to be careful of. If it’s just a one-off night, you might not think anything of it, but getting too hot or cold repeatedly has a knock-on effect on the quality of your sleep.

We’ve taken a deep dive into the ever-changing world of temperature and why temperature is essential to sleep, along with some great tips on how to sleep whether you’re running hot or cold!

Why is temperature so important to sleep?

Reaching the right temperature for your room and body ensures you get high-quality sleep. That’s because our body temperature changes before we go to sleep – around two hours before you drift off, as your body’s circadian rhythm understands that sleep is coming soon and begins to release melatonin - the hormone that gets you ready for sleep.

Your body temperature will consequently begin to lower in preparation for sleep. Then, as you sleep, your body temperature will decrease even further before reaching the lowest point in the early morning hours before slowly rising again. You might notice that you have warm hands and feet at night, even if they’re usually cold – because your body is sending heat away from its core to cool you down! What’s impressive about all this is that you do this without any awareness of it happening, and it’s all part of your circadian rhythm that ensures you can sleep well.

It's easy to see why the temperature of your bedroom can directly impact how well you sleep; if your room is too hot and humid, your body will struggle to cool itself down. In turn, a cold room will lead your body to try to heat itself – the opposite of what you need when you sleep!

What is the best room temperature for sleep?

The ideal bedroom temperature must not be too hot or cold – between 16-18 degrees Celsius. According to the Sleep Charity, temperatures over 24 degrees Celsius will cause restlessness , whereas those below 12 degrees Celsius make it harder to fall asleep! Understandably, it can be hard to maintain the perfect room temperature for sleep, but there are ways to help warm you up or cool you down.

How to maintain the perfect body temperature for sleep

So, if you’ve tried and tested all the sleep remedies and herbal teas, perhaps the solution to your sleep difficulties could be fixed with a simple tweak to your room temperature. You can maintain this room and body temperature in several ways, including adjusting the following:

Adjust the thermostat

1. Adjust the thermostat

Adjust your thermostat if no outside factors influence your room's temperature (i.e., a heat wave). Lower it if you get too hot at night or raise it slightly if you get too cold – but remain within the ideal temperature range we mentioned above! If you’ve got an intelligent heating system, you can specifically programme your thermostat to lower and raise at certain times, ensuring you get a good night's sleep!

Change airflow

2. Increase or reduce the airflow in your bedroom

Make sure that you’ve got optimal airflow in your bedroom – you can do this by either opening or closing the windows depending on which end of the heating scale you’re on. If you’re struggling with the heat, try turning on a fan to push cooler air around your room.

Consider what you wear to bed

3. Consider what you wear to bed

If you get hot when you sleep, you probably won’t want to sleep in thick pyjamas, and vice versa if you get too cold. To reach the optimal sleeping temperature, consider what you wear to bed – add on more layers, choose warmer clothing, opt for thinner pyjamas, or wear nothing if it suits you better! Trust us – you’ll feel much better once you figure out the right pyjamas to wear to bed.

Change your bedding

4. Change your bedding

Double-check the tog of your duvet – you might need a higher or lower tog depending on how hot or cold you get at night. The higher a duvet tog is, the thicker and warmer it will be. The higher togs are usually reserved for the colder weather, but some people might not realise they’re using one in summer! Alternatively, the type of bedding you have could also be influencing how warm you are – check out our article on natural bedding to find out which bedding could help regulate your temperature throughout the night!

Use curtains or blinds

5. Decide whether you want to use curtains or blinds

When closed, curtains and blinds can help retain heat in your bedroom - with blinds retaining 13-14% of heat and curtains 15-17% when drawn at dusk. Keeping your curtains open if it's too hot can help the heat escape through the window, whereas they help trap heat in a colder room. Make sure to choose the correct curtains – those that cover a radiator may have the opposite effect, in that it will trap the heat between the window and the curtain, not letting it escape to the room!

Who are you sharing a bed with

6. Who are you sharing a bed with?

This one is a bit harder to combat, but who you share your bed with can directly impact whether you feel too hot or cold. If you're one of those who like to share with a pet, then the area they are laid on will get warmer. If you share your bed with a partner, you'll likely come into the age-old problem of never matching your temperature – they might be too hot when you're cold and vice versa. Consider having two single duvets to combat this; not only will you not be fighting over the covers, but you'll also be able to choose the tog that works for you.

Use a water bottle

7. Cool or warm up with a water bottle

Water bottles, not the kind you drink out of, are a cost-effective way to control the temperature in your bed. Hot water bottles are a tried and tested beloved, often brought out in winter – fill one with hot water and place it at the end of your bed, though make sure it has a cover to avoid getting burns! If you're feeling too warm, fill it with cold water or ice to get the same effect but in reverse!

Make sure you get the perfect room temperature

All these tips are quick ways to try and get the ideal room temperature to help you sleep better, but if you're still struggling, consider if you have the right mattress. Mattresses with cooling features can allow hot sleepers to cool down before they go to sleep, and luckily, we've got an article discussing the best cooling mattresses !

For those who need to feel warmer, a quilted mattress or memory foam mattress might help warm you up, though we'd recommend wearing warm pyjamas and getting a higher tog duvet as well!

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