In today’s world, we all take certain measures to try to be healthy. Whether it’s drinking more water, eating well or exercising, our days are spent trying to be healthier overall - but did you know that making healthy choices doesn’t have to stop once you go to sleep?
It’s true! A full night’s sleep doesn’t just help you feel more rested when you wake up, it can also benefit your heart, mind and weight. While these are significant benefits, the fact of the matter is, only about 44% of Americans report a restful night’s sleep almost every night.
Although there are a variety of factors that can affect how you sleep, 69% of people reported that sleeping in a cold room strongly impacts their ability to sleep well.
Benefits of Sleeping Cold
Are you a part of the 56% that don’t always sleep well? Have you ever considered your bedroom temperature might be the culprit? Although there are a variety of factors that can affect how you sleep, we’ve listed a few benefits of sleeping cooler at night.
Fall Asleep Faster
As nighttime approaches, our body temperature naturally decreases, signaling it’s time to rest and slow down. As you’re falling asleep, cooler temperatures can help you get to sleep faster, lower the risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes, increase your quality of REM sleep, and even help you look younger.
In a Harvard study, participants fell asleep faster taking an average 6.2 minutes when their body temperature was at its lowest (approx. 97.7⁰F/36.5 ⁰C). When they were warmer (98-99.5⁰F/37-37.5⁰C), it took mostly 20 minutes to fall asleep (Djik & Czeisler, 1995).
Similarly, the Japanese Sleep Society (Setokawa, et al, 2007) reported an intervention that dropped the core body temperature of participants approximately 1⁰F (0.5-0.6⁰C) resulted in a significantly shorter time to fall asleep (average 8.9 minutes) by polysomnography, the gold standard in sleep studies.
Improve Sleep Quality
Your body's temperature drops leading up to bedtime, and it rises naturally, leading to waking up. But, there are occasions that you "sleep hot," which can cause havoc on the quality of your sleep.
Keeping your body temperature cool and the room can improve your overall sleep quality. Having the room temperature within the range of 60 - 68 degrees can stimulate the production of melatonin, which encourages sleep.
In the study mentioned above, (Setokawa, et al, 2007) participants reported sleeping cooler significantly improved their sleep quality. They noted taking less time to fall asleep, sleeping longer, and waking fewer times through the night.
Improve Melatonin Levels
Sleeping cooler may help decrease your body's core temperature quicker, resulting in naturally increase melatonin, the sleep hormone. In humans, there is a nightly decrease in body temperature that is related to a rise in melatonin levels. These shifts help trigger the body that it's time to go to sleep. They are part of your circadian rhythms that regulate your body's sleep cycle.
Interestingly, a much-cited literature review by Cagnaci et al (1997) pointed out that the body temperature lowering effects of melatonin are reduced with age and the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. So, sleeping cooler might help those who are in those particular groups.
An increased melatonin level helps you stay asleep throughout the different sleep stages. Also, it can help enhance your mood, produce cancer-fighting properties, lose weight, and improve brain health.
Sleeping in a cooler environment can significantly affect your metabolism. How? When you sleep at colder temperatures, your body burns brown fat (considered “good” fat) so that you can generate heat while you sleep.
During the warm month when the bedroom temperature was set to 81 degrees, these positive results were reversed. In a separate study, researchers found that turning the thermostat down to 66 degrees at bedtime could potentially burn an extra 100 calories over the course of 24 sleeping hours.
Effects of Sleeping in a Cold Room
Although there appears to be a direct correlation between bedroom temperature and overall health, it’s important to understand that in most studies where cold temperatures influenced an individual’s metabolic rate, participants slept with thin sheets. When it’s time for bed, there are a variety of factors that can contribute to heated sleeping conditions, like pajamas, comforters, or even the body heat of another person.
According to Dr. Chris Winter of The Huffington Post, temperatures should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for ideal sleeping conditions. There are different levels of temperature comfort for everyone. Although there are a variety of factors that can contribute to a warmer environment, there are ways to determine your perfect sleep temperature without having to worry about wasting money trying to cool your entire bedroom.
Sleep Temperature Study
Is sleeping in the cold good for you? During a four-month study, (Gretchen, et al, 2014) researchers followed the sleep patterns of healthy young men. For each month they set their bedroom temperature to 75, 66, or 81 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the men slept with a bedroom temperature of 66 degrees, they doubled their volumes of brown fat, burned more calories throughout the day and improved their insulin sensitivity, which accelerates fat loss. Brown fat is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories to generate heat.
How to Stay Cool While Sleeping?
When the room temperature gets higher than the recommended temperature, that's when it can become difficult to fall asleep. If you sleep hot or looking to stay cool at night, we’ve listed some helpful tips on how to stay cool at night.
This is where cooling bed systems like the OOLER, and Cube, will come to the rescue. They are cooling mattress pads with water circulation systems, available in both single and dual sizes. You're able to easily control your sleeping temperature, ranging from 55-115ºF.
We feel that it's essential to invest in your rest and get a good night's sleep. With the help of our sleeping products, we're dedicated to helping you get your best sleep yet. It's important to continue your healthy habits, even through the night, and we're here to help you do that.
Setokawa, H., Hayashi, M., & Hori, T. (2007). Facilitating effect of cooling the occipital region on nocturnal sleep. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 5, 166-172. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00270.x
Dijk, D-J.& Czeisler, C.A. (1995). Contribution of the circadian pacemaker and the sleep homeostat to sleep propensity, sleep structure, electroenecphalographic slow waves, and sleep spindle activity in humans. The Journal of Neuroscience, 15(5), 3526-3538. http://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.15-05-03526.1995
Cagnacci, A., Krauchi, K., Wirz-Justice, A., & Volpe, A. (1997). Homeostatic versus circadian effects of melatonin on core body temperature in humans. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 12(6), 509-517. http://doi.org/10.1177/074873049701200604
Chen, K. Y., Brychta, R. J., Linderman, J. D., Smith, S., Courville, A., Dieckmann, W., Herscovitch, P., Millo, C. M., Remaley, A., Lee, P., & Celi, F. S. (2013). Brown fat activation mediates cold-induced thermogenesis in adult humans in response to a mild decrease in ambient temperature. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 98(7), E1218–E1223. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2012-4213
Reynolds, Gretchen. “Let's Cool It in The Bedroom.” Https://ww.nytimes.com/Section/Well, NY Times, 17 July 2014, https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/lets-cool-it-in-the-bedroom.
Okamoto-Mizuno, K., Mizuno, K. Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm. J Physiol Anthropol 31, 14 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/1880-6805-31-14
Lee, P., Smith, S., Linderman, J., Courville, A.B., Brychta, R.J., Dieckmann, W., Werner, C.D., Chen, K.Y., & Celi, F.S. (2014). Temperature-acclimated brown adipose tissue modulates insulin sensitivity in humans. Diabetes. PMID: 24954193. https://doi.org/10.2337/db14-0513