Why Body Temperature is Key to Good Sleep

There are many factors that contribute to good sleep, from a supportive mattress to avoiding certain foods before bed. One of the key factors to a restful sleep is maintaining the ideal body temperature at night.


The Basics

Body temperature is largely affected by room temperature. In order for your body to properly regulate its temperature, the conditions of your sleeping environment have to be just right. Set the temperature in your bedroom around 61-68 to help you fall and stay asleep comfortably. If external temperature conditions aren’t right, then your body will alternate between shivering and sweating (except during Rapid Eye Movement or REM), making for an unpleasant sleep.


During the REM sleep stage, your body stops regulating temperature on its own. Instead, your body takes on the temperature of your environment. Humans become temporarily cold blooded during REM. If the temperature in your room varies greatly from the temperature your body was at before REM, then you’ll become very cold or wake up drenched in sweat. When you come out of REM sleep, you may shiver or sweat if your room (and consequently body temperature) isn’t comfortable. Extreme temperature changes can wake you up and make it hard to fall back asleep.


The Answers

Your body temperature naturally drops during sleep so your brain can enter deep sleep and changes throughout the night. During NREM sleep, both your body and brain temperature decrease. In order to get the proper amount of restful sleep each night during all sleep stages, there are a few things you can do regarding temperature.


Sleep happens when your core temperature drops. If your core temperature doesn’t drop or doesn’t drop enough, you’ll have trouble falling and staying asleep. To help your core temperature drop, shower before bed. This actually helps to cool your body down when your warm body steps into the colder air after showering. Wearing breathable fabrics to bed (namely cotton) also helps you to sleep well. Additionally, buying a pillow and sheets that allow for proper air flow are key to ensuring your body temperature stays where it needs to be. The breathable, 100% organic cotton sheets from Eight are a great option. If you still find that you’re sleeping too hot, try a mattress with dynamic cooling like the Pod by Eight Sleep.


The bottom line is if your body temperature isn’t ideal, then your sleep won’t be either. Check out other ways to stay cool at night here.

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