To stay healthy, productive, and enjoy the benefits of a good lifestyle, we all need our sleep. In today’s pattern of constant distractions in the form of mobile communications, social media, events and remote working; getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging.
Whether you’re worrying about an important meeting or an exam, you need to give your body the best possible chance of getting in a night’s rest. In both summer and winter it can be challenging to achieve the right temperature in your bedroom, and rising energy costs have placed further limitations on many people.
The Right Room Temperature
If you want to learn how to sleep better, go to the professionals. The American health site, WebMd, has a fascinating article about improving your sleep habit. It starts by addressing a mistake that most of us make: not setting the room temperature to body’s optimum comfort level.
The findings of experts at the Sleep Disorders Centre of Loma Linda University was contrary to what most of us in the UK believe: in our efforts to conserve energy we lower the room temperature at night; and may even open a window. California State University professor Tony Roy says this is our first and most common mistake.
Lowering the room temperature and heaping on a bevy of blankets may save some fuel but it won’t help you sleep. In fact, doing just this pretty much ensures that your sleep pattern will be interrupted, and that if you are awoken in the middle of the night you will have difficulty falling asleep again.
Does this sound familiar? Read on.
H. Craig Heller, a Professor of Biology at the highly-regarded Stanford University, says we should think of our body as having its own thermostat: when we go to bed, our brain sets a body temperature that it wants to achieve during our sleep. Heller says the brain actually acts like a human thermostat, and by lowering the room temperature and covering ourselves in blankets, we are fighting the body’s desired goal.
What The Brain Says, Goes
When it comes to sleep, the brain is king. At night during rest, the brain wants body temperature to lower from its normal state enjoyed during the day. When the room and your body are cooler, your chances of a good night’s sleep increase immeasurably.
If the room is too hot or cold, you will most likely be restless and awoken during the course of the night. You may attribute this to other reasons, but chances are the brain is not happy. Unfortunately the right temperature for one person is not necessarily the right one for another.
Typically, room temperature should be between 65 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit, but some sleepers enjoy lower temperatures; very few sleep well at higher temperatures. Utilising moderate air conditioning can ensure that your bedroom temperature is not at an extreme at either end, and will assist you in your sleep.
Further Sleep Advice
Other tips from the Sleep Institute suggest wearing socks rather than trying to sleep with cold feet. The best environment for a good night’s sleep is dark and quiet, and the environment must be conducive to rest. Televisions – or any screen for that matter – can be a distraction for a sleeper and their partner, so it is never a good idea to have one in the bedroom.
Overall a good night’s sleep is pivotal to a productive next day at work. Employees cannot expect to work hard if they have had a sleepless night and must ensure that their house and bedroom temperature is tightly controlled to reduce irritation and maximise peacefulness.
The Impact of Temperature on Office Productivity (WM Aircon)