Room Temperature and Sleep
Why is body and room temperature crucial for sleep?
Room temperature can be a critical piece of your baby’s sleep journey – more than you ever expected! So let’s dig in and find out why.
Circadian rhythm and your core body temperature
- Your core body temperature rises and falls in sync with your circadian rhythm as illustrated in the image below.
- It begins to rise between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 p.m., peaking late in the afternoon.
- As bedtime approaches, it begins to decline, dropping below the midday starting point.
- In other words; your circadian rhythm signals your body temperature to drop the closer it is to bedtime.
- Interestingly, however, whether or not you are sleeping has no effect on your core body temperature. It will drop even if you stay awake.
Your core temperature needs to drop by 1°C for you to fall asleep and stay asleep all night.
Room temperature and sleep
- The room temperature, your bedding and your clothing all influences your body temperature.
- An ideal room temperature for sleep is about 18.3°C, which seems a bit cold, doesn’t it!?
- It will always be easier to fall asleep and stay asleep in a room that is “too cold” than in one that is too hot. The reason being that a cooler temperature pulls your brain and body in the direction towards sleep.
- Ever wonder why it seems impossible to sleep well on warm and sticky nights when there is no cool breeze coming in?
It’s not by chance that when adult insomniacs visit a sleep clinic, one of the first questions they’ll ask is: “What is the temperature of the room you sleep in.”
Let’s bring it back to the body…
Our temperature “sensors” sit conveniently next to our 24-hour-clock in the brain. So once your core temperature drops below a certain threshold and as the sun starts setting, it sends a message to initiate the evening surge of melatonin.
Your hands, feet, and head are rich in vessels that lie close to the skin’s surface, which helps your body to cool off in a massive venting session before bedtime.
If you think about it, your “face-washing ritual” before bed can in actual fact help you sleep better. You are using your hands, touching the water and splashing your face, which helps to cool your body down!
By taking your hands and feet out from underneath the covers while sleeping, you do the same thing when overheating at night. That explains why you probably won’s find your toddler neatly tucked in like you left them at the beginning of the night. It helps them cool down and stay asleep.`
How can body and room temperature help my baby sleep better?
1. A bath doesn’t just calm, it cools down too!
One of the most interesting things is that you have probably “unknowingly” been using a bath to help your child to fall asleep easier at night. You might think it’s because it makes you feel nice and warm after, but in actual fact, the hot water allows the blood to come to your skin’s surface, giving you that flushed appearance.
Upon getting out of the bath, the blood vessels quickly radiate out the heat, and your core body temperature plummets. Consequently, your core is colder, helping you fall asleep more quickly.
So a bath is in actual fact an incredible way to help your little one fall asleep easier at night!
2. Keep baby’s room cool
You now know why we recommend a room temperature of 18-22*C. So try your best to keep the room cool during the day and night and you should already have a better sleeper!
3. Dress them appropriately
By using the correct tog rating as well as choosing a breathe-able material sleeping bag, you prevent baby from overheating but maintaining an ideal body temperature all through the night.
Did you find this as interesting as we did!? Chat to us in the comments below!
Resources: Walker, Matthew. “Why We Sleep.” The New Science of Sleep and Dreams, 2017.