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Tips for Staying Warm on a Cold Night

November 1st, 2017

Numerous studies have shown us that our bodies have a temperature range that makes for ideal sleep, and attempting to get rest when we are too hot or too cold is often a fruitless effort. Every night as the sun sets, the darkening environment around us signals our brains that it’s time to get sleepy by producing a hormone called melatonin. This process also cues our body temperature to start dropping and, as we go to bed, our body wants to remain at these cooler temperatures. When the environment we are sleeping in is too hot or cold, it can interfere with our sleep cycle, disrupt our natural sleep-wake pattern, and leave us feeling grumpy and fatigued the next day.

Although our bodies do appreciate a cool environment for sleeping (somewhere between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit), when it is too cold, we can find ourselves trying to get comfortable rather than sleeping soundly. If frosty winter time temperatures or an overzealous air conditioning unit are keeping you from your best night’s rest, read on for some easy tips and tricks on how to make your bedroom a more optimal temperature.

Tips for Staying Warm and Getting Better Sleep

Use a Space Heater:

If you don’t have central heating, a space heater is an ideal substitute. Many feature an independent thermostat that keeps your room at a specific temperature. This can allow the rest of the house to stay cool ( saving on electricity costs), while the bedroom is optimized for rest.

If heating your space is not an option, we have some other simple tips you can try.

Use a Hot Water Bottle or Electric Blanket:

Good old-fashioned hot water bottles and modern electric blankets are both great options for preheating your bed keeping you warm you throughout the night. If you are using an electric blanket, be sure to turn it on to warm up your bed and either switch it off or set it on the lowest setting once you’re under the blankets.

Layer Up:

Layer comforters or throws to control your body temperature without altering the room temperature. You can also keep additional blankets nearby, so it’s easy to add additional layers at night as needed. For added warmth and coziness, you should also consider swapping out your summer linens for flannel sheets.

Drink Warming Tea:

Brewing yourself a hot cup of caffeine-free, herbal tea before bed (chamomile is an excellent choice) is a classic way to both warm up and relax for a gentle night’s rest.

Wear Socks:

Wearing socks to bed when it’s cold causes vasodilation (the dilation of the blood vessels) in your feet which may tell your brain it’s time for bed. Not only will wearing socks keep you warm, but they may also help you fall asleep more easily!

Do Some Light Stretching:

When it’s chilly inside, try doing five minutes of light stretching and breathing before climbing into bed. This should be enough to get the blood moving, but not enough to over-stimulate you so much that you have trouble sleeping.

Soak in a Hot Bath:

Taking a hot bath (or shower) right before bed will help raise your core body temperature, so you’re more comfortable when it’s time to fall asleep. As an added treat, try using lavender scented bath salts or body soap to induce a sense of calm while the hot water warms and relaxes you.

Insulate Your Sleeping Area:

Do a draft check to ensure that windows or spaces under the doors are not allowing cold to creep in. If you do find leaks, install thick curtains or weather stripping to keep the cold at bay.

Finding a balance between comfort and optimal sleeping conditions is a delicate operation, and getting your bedroom to the right temperature is part of this process. After that, all that’s left to do is lay back and enjoy your best sleep ever!

“Effects of Thermal Environment on Sleep and Circadian Rhythm”. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
“The Ideal Temperature for Sleep”.
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