Your Bedroom Is Too Hot – The Atlantic

Posted: January 3, 2020 at 10:42 am

Those who sleep in cold environments, meanwhile, tend to fare better. A study of people with a sleep disorder found that they slept longer in temperatures of 61 degrees Fahrenheit versus 75 degrees. The cold-sleepers were also more alert the next morning. The basic physiology is that your body undergoes several changes at night to ease you into sleep: Your core and brain temperatures decrease, and both blood sugar and heart rate drop. Keeping a bedroom hot essentially fights against this process. Insomnia has even been linked to a basic malfunctioning of the bodys heat-regulation cyclesmeaning some cases could be a disorder of body temperature.

In light of this physiology, sleep experts unanimously suggest keeping your bedroom cooler than the standard daytime temperature of your home. There is no universally accepted temperature that is the correct one, but various medical entities have suggested ideal temperature ranges. The most common recommendation, cited by places like the Cleveland Clinic and the National Sleep Foundation, is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Within that range, experts vary. A neurologist in Virginia told that the magic number is 65. Others have advised an upper limit of 64.

Read: How to sleep

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your home at 68 degrees during the day and lower while youre asleep. That guideline is based on money, not health: It was originally suggested by President Richard Nixon as a way of conserving oil during an embargo. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter went further, suggesting 65 degrees in daytime and 55 at night. He ordered that the White House thermostat be lowered accordingly, and subsequently extended the rule to all public buildings. The change was estimated to have saved around 300,000 gallons of oil daily.

Even though no one was fined under the thermostat rule, Ronald Reagan promptly undid it in 1981, citing unnecessary regulatory burden. No such executive thermoregulatory fiats have since been attempted. If you want to work and sleep in a sauna-like sweat box, that is your God-given right as a red-blooded American. But it should be done with the knowledge that thermostat decisions affect far more than ones own personal sleep. The burning of fossil fuels contributes to the air pollution that kills millions of people every year, and the health effects of climate change are far-reaching.

As for individual health guidelines, human variation makes giving any specific number almost impossibleand borderline irresponsible. Different temperatures will suit different people differently. At the same time, a range like 60 to 67 degrees can feel nebulously broad. Its less satisfying than a single number, and it doesnt solve the bed-partner argument. So I will say this: 60 degrees is the correct temperature for winter sleep. Anything warmer is incorrect.

Your Bedroom Is Too Hot - The Atlantic

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