Creating an optimal sleeping environment is arguably the most crucial aspect of getting a good night of quality sleep. Lack of quality sleep has been linked to loss of attention, reduction in memory, and reduction of processing speed. Suffice it to say, without uninterrupted deep sleep, we do not function at a very high level. So when thinking of ways to improve our sleep we must think about our surrounding environment. Studies show that keeping your bedroom at a cooler temperature is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s rest. How do we determine what the best room temperature for sleeping is?
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Does Your Body Temperature Go Up When You Sleep?
Your sleeping body temperature naturally decreases as you begin to sleep because your brain waves slow down and you’re not as active, and thus do not generate heat the same way as you normally would throughout the day. Warmer temperatures that aren’t comfortable enough to sleep in will keep you from falling into a deeper and more restful sleep. Have you ever noticed that some mornings you find yourself jumbling through words, or not being able to focus even after having eight hours of sleep? According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, approximately one third of adults report sleep difficulties, making lack of quality sleep a pressing public mental and physical health issue. So next time you feel like your brain just isn’t working, don’t just blame it on a lack of coffee, maybe stop and think about if you were hot or cool the night before.
Is it Healthier to Sleep in a Cold Room?
Before you just turn your thermostat down its important to understand the process your body goes through on a night to night basis. Thermoregulation plays a critical role of both falling asleep and staying asleep. As you prepare for sleep, dilation of blood vessels in the skin facilitates heat loss, producing an important signal letting your body know it’s time for sleep. This core temperature decrease is preceded by an increase of temperature at both your hands and feet. This suggests that when the heat exits from your hands and feet it’s your bodies attempt to cool your body temperature down. Once your body temperature drops to a lower overall temperature, it stays low throughout the night until the early morning. On average your body temperature is at its coldest around 5am.
With that information in mind, it’s important to understand that lowering your sleeping environments temperature is not to make you feel cool, or even comfortable, but to regulate your body’s lower sleep temperature. Studies have shown that sleeping in warmer climates or even under warmer bedding that leads to warmer sleeping body temperatures can prevent your body from going through its natural process; which then prohibits you from getting a quality night’s sleep. Interrupting your body’s natural process can be detrimental to quality and deep sleep. Other factors like thick comforters, cotton sheets or lower-grade memory foam mattresses can be a contributing factor. However, dropping your temperature down at night is by far the most effective way to ensure you’re regulating your sleeping body temperature.
Will Lowering My AC Have a Large Impact on My Energy Bill?
In a lot of cases, people avoid altering their nightly sleeping body temperature for two main reasons, the first being a spike in energy bills. In an average American home, air conditioning uses more electricity than any appliance totaling 16% of the total electricity bill. In warmer regions like Florida or Texas the AC can be 65% or more of your summer electric bill. However, in recent years, several advancements have been made in air conditioning systems. For example, in previous years, the minimum requirement for SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) on AC systems was only 10.
Systems are now required to be, at minimum, 13 (or 14 in southern states) resulting in a 39% increase in energy efficiency. Though these are the country’s minimums, brands like Trane offer AC systems that have up to a 27 SEER number. Along with keeping up to date with current efficacy standards, you can also do your part by doing a yearly clean and check on your existing AC unit. Here at Home-Tech, we include a yearly clean and check for our service agreement members. This way you know your system is running optimally and you can feel confident that you’re getting the most out of your AC system when you turn your thermostat down at night.
What is the Best Room Temperature for Sleeping?
Most experts recommend your in-room temperature before sleep should be in and around 65°F year round to optimize your rest. Despite the science behind these numbers, most people keep their thermostat above 70 degrees at night. In today’s high-paced world, we are always moving and always going. Now more than ever we need quality and restful sleep to be our best throughout the day. Be sure to schedule a clean and check annually, checking your unit’s SEER rating, and dialing back your thermostat before you head to bed.