Against insomnia and to sleep well, the temperature of your room is important

miniseries / Getty Images A woman wakes up

miniseries / Getty Images

It is often said that a cold room is ideal for a good night’s rest.

SLEEP – The quest for good rest is a concern for many. And many factors can affect the quality of your sleep. One of them is the temperature of your bedroom.

It is often said that a cold room is ideal for a good night’s rest. In the USA, the National Sleep Foundation recommends a room temperature between 15.5°C and 19.5°C for ideal sleep. But a recent study published in the journal Science of The Total Environment shows that this temperature is not necessarily the best for everyone.

There research suggests that older adults sleep better in warmer environments, specifically at temperatures between 20°C and 25°C. To collect this data, all 50 study participants wore monitors that measured restlessness, sleep duration and efficiency. An environmental sensor monitored the temperature of the participants’ room.

According to THE Washington Post, the study, carried out between 2021 and 2023, focused on people aged over 65 who were each followed for 12 months. In total, the study covered 11,000 nights of sleep.

Some limitations should nevertheless be highlighted: the sample was small and only included people from the Boston area, United States. But according to experts interviewed by the HuffPost US, the study still has merit, even if others will have to be carried out to draw definitive conclusions.

These new conclusions in any case give food for thought. How to find your ideal sleeping temperature? Are there reasons why some people sleep better at higher temperatures than others? Here’s what the experts think.

Test different temperatures to find the right one

The study highlights that the ideal temperature for sleeping varies from person to person – the range from 20°C to 25°C is wide. Individual preferences are probably the most determining factor.

“These results highlight the possibility of improving sleep quality in older adults by optimizing the thermal environment of the home and highlight the importance of personalized temperature adjustment based on individual needs and circumstances”, thus declared Amir Baniassadi, principal investigator of the study, in a press release.

In other words, some people may feel hot and sweaty at night in a 25°C room, while others may be perfectly content. What’s best for your sleep isn’t always best for your friend or partner.

“As the study points out, the ideal temperature for sleeping varies considerably from person to person”explains to HuffPost US Phil Gehrman, associate professor of clinical psychology in the department of psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “I encourage people to experiment with different temperatures in their room to see if they can find the one that works best for them. »

“It is difficult for us to sleep in hot weather”

Dr. Rafael Pelayo, professor of psychiatry, behavioral sciences and sleep medicine at Stanford University, adds that your ideal temperature may also depend on your health. Certain groups of people, such as those with sleep apnea or people going through menopause, tend to feel hot when they sleep. In these cases, turning up the thermostat certainly won’t help them rest better.

Generally speaking, Rafael Pelayo recommends a sleeping temperature below 21°C, usually around 20°C.

“It’s difficult for us to sleep in hot weather – people are uncomfortable, it’s sticky”explains the professor. “And when you look at the way sleep surfaces are marketed these days, blankets and sheets for example, we always talk about cooling. They dissipate heat. »

White noise machine, blackout curtains…

To determine your ideal temperature, start at 20°C – the most researched and well-established temperature – and go from there. Write down how you felt during the night. Did you feel cold when you woke up? Are your feet too cold or too hot? Do you think a fan could help? Why not extra coverage? You should take note of your observations for at least seven days, according to experts.

“I don’t recommend people making decisions based on just one or two nights, because our sleep fluctuates on its own. Some nights are better than others”explains Rafael Pelayo.

Phil Gehrman also advises sticking to room temperature for a week before trying another temperature to see the real impact on your sleep.

These one-week tests are also useful for other sleep hygiene modifications. For example, you can use a white noise machine for a week or install blackout curtains to see if a dark space helps you feel more rested. You can also set up a phone-free routine in the evening, an hour before going to bed.

“Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that if a person suffers from chronic sleep problems, adjusting the temperature of the room probably won’t be enough to help them sleep better, but it can be a part of the solution »recalls Phil Gehrman.

For people suffering from chronic sleep problems such as insomnia and sleep apnea, it is best to consult your doctor for personalized sleep solutions.

This article is a translation produced by the HuffPost France editorial staff, from an article published on September 28, 2023 on the Huffington Post US. Original article to read here.

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