The temperature of your sleep environment is a bigger deal than you may think. If you’re having consistent trouble sleeping sometimes you know why but many times you don’t. Sleep temperature is often overlooked, and its importance is underestimated by most. Sleep improvement solutions often center around mattress comfort, bedtime routines and even medical issues like sleep apnea. Sometimes there’s a mention about sleep temperatures but no practical solutions are presented.
Researchers have found that temperature plays a critical role in falling asleep and sleep quality. Some take a long time to fall asleep and toss and turn because of their temperature but they don’t know why. Let’s face it, it is hard to know what is happening when you’re sleeping.
Many researchers have studied the effect of temperature on sleep and have uncovered some interesting facts that help us understand sleep better.
Your Body Temperature Naturally Cycles
Throughout the day your body temperature changes and in the evening your core temperature drops to prepare you for sleep. It takes 3-4 hours for your body temperature to drop a little over 1 C and this is when you fall asleep easiest. Your body does a wonderous job in cooling your core to prepare you for sleep, however, your environment can mess this up. It doesn’t take much!
If anything disturbs your drop in temperature it will make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Think about if you rigorously exercise an hour before bedtime. Your body heats up and you won’t sleep until you cool down. Another example is eating a large meaty meal in the evening. Your digestive system works overtime, heats you up and makes it difficult to fall asleep.
The Importance of Core Temperature
Once you understand the importance of your core temperature naturally lowering before you sleep you can do a few things to help:
- Stick to a consistent bedtime schedule so that your natural body temperature changes are aligned with your bedtime
- Don’t engage in activities that will increase your body temperature within 3-4 hours of your bedtime like exercising, overeating, or being in a hot environment.
- Keep your house cool to enable your body to lower its temperature before you climb into bed
Don’t Ignore Your Bedding
Your bedding should keep your core temperature low too. Mattresses over-insulate your body trapping in too much heat which increases your core temperature. This makes it so you take longer to fall asleep and wake up hot. Studies have shown that you won’t sleep well if your core is too hot. Shameless plug: We have a solution for that! More on this later.
Your Feet Have Something to Say Too
Researchers have also found that while your body temperature drops, your extremities (arms, legs) receive increased blood flow, raising their temperature and making your overall body more similar in temperature. It is thought that this has a few purposes – it helps to cool your core temperature and also puts your whole body into an efficient sleeping temperature. It is for this reason that it is most comfortable to be covered up with insulating blankets during sleep. The blankets keep your extremities warm so your body doesn’t need to work to heat them. However, if you are too insulated your core temperature will rise and you will rouse.
Aging and Thermoregulation
As people age their body’s ability to regulate the temperature of their extremities diminishes and their sensitivity to temperature during sleep increases. Researchers have shown that as little as 0.4 C away from your ideal skin temperature can halve the deep sleep a person gets. This 0.4 C difference can also change the likelihood of premature morning waking by 10 times!
It is becoming clear that the most overlooked factor affecting sleep quality is your body temperature both before and during your sleep. What can you do about it? If you get too hot you have to wake and remove blankets, roll over, stick your leg out, etc. or the opposite if you get too cold.
Here’s the shameless plug: Thankfully, we’ve developed the Perfectly Snug Smart Topper. It’s a thin comfortable layer that you place on your existing mattress. The topper monitors your body temperature and provides cooling or warming when and where you need it, so that you can sleep at your optimal temperature all through the night. It has features like dual-zone temperature controls, active air flow under your body, foot and body heaters, and a simple phone remote control app.
This Smart Topper helps you cool your core down when you get to bed so you fall asleep quicker. Once you’re asleep it keeps your sleep environment temperature constant through the night so that you wake and move less.
Learn more about the Perfectly Snug Smart Topper: