“No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation. It sinks down into every possible nook and cranny.” -Russell Foster, Neuroscientist, Oxford University
There is a war going on in many households, as we speak. Are they fighting over politics? Where to go on vacation next year? Who is supposed to be taking care of the dog?
No. It’s none of the above. The “fight” is over the thermostat. Yes, that small piece of electronic equipment stuck to the wall that one person wants to crank up and another wants to turn down. It’s a constant battle; especially at bedtime. As some family members give others the cold shoulder, you might ask, is it better to sleep in the cold? (No pun intended.)
When it comes to your health, what do experts say is the perfect sleep temperature and why? This is a significant question because the importance of good sleep cannot be underestimated. Therefore, learning what factors contribute to a good night’s sleep is worth exploring.
The temperature of the room you sleep in is highly correlated with the quality of your sleep. In fact, scientists believe that the temperature of one’s sleep environment is one of the most important factors that can affect human sleep.¹ Heat or cold temperatures affect increase in wakefulness, decreased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and slow wave sleep. These different sleep stages are highly influenced by the temperature of the sleep environment and are strongly linked to core body temperature -which affects the entire system of sleep regulation. ² Sleeping in a cold room will lower your body temperature making it easier to sleep more deeply. This in turn will lead to feeling more well-rested the next day.
The list of negative results of sleeping poorly is long and alarming. Whether driving a car or participating in an athletic event, cognitive deficiencies such as impaired situational awareness, slowed reaction time, poor judgement of distance, speed, and time, can all be telltale signs of poor sleep hygiene. Physical performance problems such as reduced pain threshold, an increased risk of injury, increased body fat, and greater susceptibility to sickness -are all likely. Impaired sleep will also take its toll on your emotional well-being with consequences such as increased anxiety, irritability, and making mistakes; even a tendency to revert back to old habits.
When considering the benefits of getting adequate sleep, don’t think in terms of going from sleep deprivation to sleeping eight hours. Instead, think, optimal performance. The positive results of sleeping well are very impactful. Increased motivation for all aspects of life, improved muscle recovery and strength following exercise, and better regulation of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone (which can signal body fat storage), are just a few reasons why a good night’s sleep can be a game-changer.
A study at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH),³ found that sleeping in a room at 66 degrees F, increased metabolism, increased brown fat (a health benefit), and improved insulin sensitivity, a critical factor in maintaining a healthy metabolism. Researchers noted that study participants experienced better metabolic function simply by sleeping in a colder room.³ Another benefit to having lower sleep temperatures is proper melatonin production. Melatonin is secreted at sundown and gradually helps the body relax and prepare for sleep. Lower temperatures encourage melatonin production leading to better sleep quality.
Recent research has revealed sleep as the time when the brain “washes” itself in cerebrospinal fluid during sleep as a self-cleaning mechanism. This cleansing rids the brain of toxic proteins that can build up, leading to the effects of unhealthy aging associated with neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This process is known as the body’s glymphatic system.⁴
Difficulty sleeping tends to fall into one of three categories: trouble falling asleep, problems staying asleep or waking up too early. Sticking to a “power down hour” prior to sleep can help prepare your body for the best night’s sleep possible.
Wearing amber-colored glasses to filter blue light emitting from electronic devices is crucial as blue light suppresses melatonin. Some laptops, cell phones, and tablets now come equipped with amber filters that may negate the need for amber glasses. Begin filtering blue light at least one hour before bed or better yet, give your brain a rest from scrolling and turn off your phone an hour before sleep.
MaxLiving Sleep + Mood Formula is a highly effective supplement that supports restful sleep while helping to improve your mood with a potent combination of herbs and nutrients that help regulate your natural sleep cycle. Sleep + Mood Formula supports mood featuring a relaxation focus to support both of these interconnected systems.
One of the most impactful things you can do for your health is to get good sleep. So, next time the thermostat debate arises, remember the profound impact that a well-regulated sleep environment can have on your overall well-being.