Cool Sheets, Temperature, and Improved Sleep Quality
By Dr. Dan Gartenberg
The science of temperature and sleep is more complicated than many people realize. There are three major factors to consider when thinking about how your temperature at night could be impacting sleep. There are actually 3 different temperatures to consider when optimizing your sleep environment.
- Ambient room temperature (how hot or cold your room is)
- The temperature within the bed (impacted by sheets and sleepwear)
- The temperature of your limbs compared to the core of your body
Below are 5 of the top tips to control the temperature of your bedroom at night, thereby improving the quality of your sleep and your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
1. Choose breathable sheets with multiple blankets
How to do it
A simple hack to ensure that you sleep with the ideal temperature at night is to use breathable sheets. In a recent collaboration that SleepSpace conducted with Ettitude, we ran an experiement compairing typical sheets with their breathable bamboo material and showed improved sleep quality. The reason for this is that bamboo is more breathable than cotton because it is finer. For example, a 300 thread count for cotton is equivalent to a 1000 thread count for Ettitude Bamboo Sheets. This helps to keep your body at a cool temperature when you need it the most since there are more gaps for air to naturally breathe through. It is also essential to have multiple blankets with different thicknesses (as many as 4 different blankets). This enables you to adjust your temperature needs appropriately. Splitting blankets not beds, is also very important when habituating with a sleep partner who may have different temperature needs.
2. Keep a cool room 60-68°
How to do it
You've probably heard the saying by now, "Keep your bedroom quite, dark, and cool" for optimum sleep. But what does that actually mean? There are a few factors to consider when keeping your bedroom cool. First is the ambient temperature. This is the temperature of the actual bedroom when you are not under your sheets. The recommendation is to keep this temperature colder than what you might typically think - somewhere between 60-68 degrees. This enables you to use blankets or sleepwear to then optimize the temperature in the room, while ensuring that you are not too hot at night. Being too warm can result in awakenings during the night. This can be particularly prevalent later in the night when we are more likely to be in REM sleep and the body loses thermoregulation abilities. As we get older, our bodies actually get worse of regulating and sensing temperature. It is therefore important to keep a cool temperature in the room as we age, in order to promote falling asleep. But make sure you are not too cold in the actual bed since this can also result in poor sleep and awakenings. When considering temperature regulation, there is a happy equilibrium between not too hot and not too cold.
3. Wear socks or take a warm bath or shower
Did you know there is peer reviewed research showing that wearing socks to bed can help you fall asleep?
You can learn more about why socks help with falling asleep by clicking here. The reason for this is that wearing socks actually cools your internal body temperature, and when we fall asleep, our internal body temperature also increases. We recommend trying the Dagsmejan breathable socks for the best effect when trying this proven sleep hack. You can get $15 off all Dagsmejan Sleepwear and learn how to get the most of it by downloading the Free SleepSpace app and unlocking the Dagsmejan Sleepwear program.
Therefore, things that increase our internal body temperature before bedtime and during the night will help you fall asleep faster. When you warm your extremities, your core body temperature actually responds by decreasing in temperature. That is why taking a warm bath or shower before bed also helps with falling asleep, since your body responds to external heat by cooling itself internally. But you should also make sure that the bedroom environment is cool enough for this to be effective because if you are too warm at night, this can also hurt with falling asleep.
How to do it
4. Cool your head if you cannot fall asleep
How to do it
Another hack that goes along with this is cooling your head to help fall asleep since the core body temperature is related to the temperature of the head or torso. Having a cool pillow that isn't warmed by your body heat that you can swap in during the middle of the night can help with staying asleep in the middle of the night if you wake up. On the Ben Greenfield Life podcast we delve deep into how to optimize temperature to improve your sleep quality.
5. Make further adjustments with a fan
How to do it
In summary, the best way to optimize your bedroom environment for temperature is to have multiple layers of temperature that can be adjusted. Another effective solution for this is a fan at night. In addition to using the fan to adjust your temperature needs, it administers white noise to effectively block out noise polution at night. We found that blocking out noise pollution with multiple sound sources, including the SleepSpace app sounds and a fan is effective for optimizing both sound and temperature at night.