As nights cool off this fall and winter, you might be reaching for thicker pajamas, extra blankets, and maybe some toasty socks. But did you know your body actually needs to cool off to sleep? Finding the perfect balance between waking up sweating under a pile of blankets and shivering in a chilly room can be a challenge. Here are some tips on how to beat the cold this season and get the quality sleep you need.
More great tips for sleeping can be found in the free SleepScore App. Download it today!
Although our bodies do appreciate a cool environment for sleeping (somewhere between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit), when it’s too cold, we can find ourselves trying to get comfortable rather than sleeping soundly. This can be due to the body working to retain heat rather than transferring it away like it does to prepare for sleep. The golden rule is that your room should feel comfortably cool and you should feel comfortably warm. Too much change in the opposite direction can leave you tossing and turning. Other tips for finding the optimal sleeping conditions can be found in the free SleepScore App.
So how to keep warm on a cool night without overheating yourself?
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. 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 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 could also consider swapping out your summer linens for flannel sheets.
If cold feet stand between you and a good night’s rest, try warming your feet with a massage or footbath before you put on socks. Warming your feet causes your blood vessels to dilate, which tells your brain it’s time for sleep. Putting socks on cold feet doesn’t have the same effect, and the heating process is much slower. Warming up your feet before you hop in bed not only feels great, it may also help you fall asleep faster!
Know Your Partner:
If you share a bed, you’ve probably experienced a battle over sheets and blankets. From a thermoregulatory perspective, men and women differ. In general, men prefer to be cool and women prefer to be warmer while sleeping, but of course there are exceptions! In these cooler months, you might opt for a dual-zone comforter or even separate blankets and mattresses to keep everyone at their ideal sleeping temperature.
Finding a balance between comfort and optimal sleeping conditions is a delicate operation and getting your bedroom, bed, and body 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. https://sleep.org/articles/temperature-for-sleep/ “The Ideal Temperature for Sleep”. Sleep.org. https://sleep.org/articles/temperature-for-sleep/
Ko, Y., & Lee, J. Y. (2018). Effects of feet warming using bed socks on sleep quality and thermoregulatory responses in a cool environment. Journal of physiological anthropology, 37(1), 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5921564/
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