You’ve tried every trick in the book to get a good night’s sleep, but you may have overlooked one crucial and controllable element — the temperature of the room in which you sleep.
“The right temperature — typically a bit on the cool side — can help with sleep quality immensely,” says W. Christopher Winter, MD, director of the Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine Center in Virginia.
So what is that temperature? Generally, a good sleeping temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees, though for most people, heat is more of a sleep disruptor than cold.
“That’s really optimal for sleep,” says Michael J. Breus, PhD, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep, of the 68-72 range.
What if you can’t cool your bedroom, or if it’s just too expensive because of energy costs associated with running an air conditioner in hot, humid climes?
Breus recommends taking a cool shower before turning in, sipping cool ice water when you get too uncomfortable, and placing a cool, wet tower on your forehead. He explains that heat tends to exit the body through the head, and having a wet towel on your forehead helps facilitate the process.
Also, Breus advises to sleep with a thin sheet over you even if the room temperature is excessive. He explains that we need a tactile sensation to help us sleep.
Also, there are differences between how men and women cope with temperature. Men tend to maintain a steady body temperature, while women, once menopause begins, can be subject to hot flashes and night sweats.
So, add room temperature to your list of good sleep hygiene benchmarks.