21 December 2015

SLEEP HYGIENE TIP OF THE WEEK: Watch your thermostat

People pay good money to sleep in cold rooms! Fortunately, you don't
have to sleep in an ice hotel in order to benefit from a lower thermostat.
Despite our desire to feel warm and toasty to get us through the winter, our bodies need a cooler room to sleep in. We set our household thermostats to a warmer setting without realizing that the ambient warmth at night might be creating a challenge for our own personal thermostats.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends between 60° and 67°F

From the NSF website:
"Your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep—and the proposed temperatures above can actually help facilitate this. If your room is cool, rather than warm, it will be much easier to shut your eyes for the night. Thermostat settings far lower or higher than what’s recommended could lead to restlessness and can also affect the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage in which you dream."
Does this sound too cold for you? You can adjust your household thermostat while also making adjustments to your personal thermostat so you don't have to shiver all night.

The best solution is to have a cool room temperature but use several layers of blankets to adjust throughout the night. Start with a bottom sheet, a thermal or fleece blanket, then a comforter and then add or subtract according to your comfort level. Some people like wearing socks to bed as well, or filling a hot water bottle and placing it at the foot of the bed.

Do the NSF recommendations sounds too warm for you? If you wake up in the middle of the night, lighten your layers of sheets and blankets to help correct any overheating, then pull them closer when you feel sleep returning.

Sometimes simply sticking your foot outside your bed coverings allows it to cool down; this also helps to correct whole body thermoregulation.

If you are someone who lives in a household where the temperature is much higher than you prefer, you can also drink a glass of ice-cold water at bedtime (or at any time you wake up in the night and feel overwarm), as this can quickly adjust your body's core temperature to one more amenable to sleep.