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Hibernating this winter: how does temperature affect sleep?

It’s clear that the chilly winter months have well and truly set in throughout the land of the long white cloud. The snow is beginning to fall, the days are becoming shorter, and with the mornings and evenings dropping the mercury quickly, we love seeking refuge by cuddling up under the sheets.

But did you know that the temperature of both our bodies and our surroundings can have an impact of the quality of rest we get each night? Sleep is critical to our health and wellbeing, which means it’s important to get the conditions right.

What Happens to Our Body Temperature While We Sleep?

Sleep consists of several phases[1], with the first being where you transition from consciousness and into light sleep. During the following stages, the body’s core temperature gradually drops to reach the state of deep sleep. However, if our core temperature is too high, the brain cannot clearly differentiate the transition between the states of awake and sleep, which directly impacts how effectively we rest.

Surrounding temperature can directly affect our core temperature, meaning that how hot or cold your room is can have a direct influence.  

What Impact Does Room Temperature Have on Our Sleep?

In general, it has been found that around 18 degrees Celsius is the most ideal because this range is the most complementary to the cooler temperatures your core experiences during the middle of the night. The low temperatures ensure that your body doesn’t warm up earlier and therefore transition too quickly out of the deep sleep stages, thus promoting a more restful night.

Think of your bedroom as a den- the best conditions for getting the best rest is when it’s dark, cool and quiet!

Our sleep assessment helps identify the cause of your sleep problems.

If you are having problems sleeping, then it might be worth taking our sleep assessment to determine if you are at risk of sleep apnea.

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5 Tips to Keep the Ideal Room Temperature

However, this would quickly lead to a big energy bill! So how to be keep our rooms at the optimal temperature without blowing the budget?

  • Don’t leave the electronic blanket on all night
    Again, while it’s tempting to use an electric blanket to make those sheets toasty warm, keeping it on all night will directly raise your core temperature for the entire seven or so hours. Instead, turn it on for an hour before lights out and then turn it off when you get into bed, so that your body can cool.
  • Avoid too many blankets
    While it’s always nice to snuggle up during winter, don’t add too many layers to the point where you’re sweating throughout the night. This can disrupt your sleep as your body struggles to drop its temperature.
  • Don’t leave a heater on
    Having a gas or oil heater on all night on top of having a pile of blankets on will not only lead to expensive power bills, but also be counter-productive to a good night’s rest.
  • Invest in a good mattress
    A high-quality mattress often can dissipate your body heat much more effectively than other alternatives, which means that it is helping your core reach the ideal temperatures for the best sleep.
  • Keep a window open a crack
    During Winter, letting the cooler air from outside circulate into your room keeps the air you breathe all night nice and fresh, and can help you lower the temperature to get the best sleep.

Learn How to Improve Your Overall Sleep

In a world today where it’s all too easy to experience sleep deprivation, we should all be aiming to get the most out of our sleep to remain healthy and happy each day.

At EdenSleep, we have created a free eBook available to download right now, called the 8 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight, which explains the eight best ways to improve your sleep in order to get the best rest out of every night. 

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References:

[1] Health Navigator, NZ. ‘Why Sleep Is Important’. https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/healthy-living/. Accessed 21 June, 2017.   

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