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The effect of temperature on sleep

Effects Of Temperature On Sleep And How To Improve Your Sleep Environment

The external temperature that the body needs to sleep well is approximately 18 to 21ºC; above or below this temperature sleep quality may suffer. With the increase in ambient temperature, there is a hyperactivation of metabolism motivated by the body’s effort to maintain the interior temperature according to the exterior, which has cerebral consequences.

The sleep environment and the daytime hygiene have a strong impact on the duration and especially the quality of sleep. There are 4 major variables that affect the quality of sleep: temperature, noise, light and sleep hygiene.

The Temperature
Like light and movement, the temperature of your body plays a vital role in the quality of your sleep. As I will like to mention here, the body temperature is at its warmest in the middle of the afternoon and from then on it will gradually go down to bedtime. Your internal clock, for instance, circadian rhythm, controls these temperature fluctuations so that the transition from wakefulness to sleep is optimal. For example, when you engage in a relaxing ritual before going to sleep, your body temperature will drop considerably.

The relaxing ritual recommended to everyone is a hot shower or bath of 5 minutes at night. Why hot for 5 minutes? Because hot for a short time allows your body to thermoregulate its temperature down and basically, it’s as if you activate the air conditioning of your body.

In the morning, it’s the opposite; your body temperature is at the coldest of the day. It is sometimes difficult to start the day because literally you are not warmed up yet; you are like a cold engine. A strategy to warm up in the morning is obviously exercised, but you can also do it with a cold shower because the cold will activate the heater of your body.

Attention to all! The cold in the morning is not easy. My thing to get there is to start with a hot shower, but at the end, gradually turn the shower temperature knob until you cannot handle it anymore. Once it’s cold, try to stay underwater for 30 seconds. You will see that with this habit, it will become easier and easier to stay longer. An alternative to the cold shower is the cold bath.

The temperature of the body envelope during sleep is 30-32 °. It is the one that allows the thermal comfort necessary for a good quality of sleep. We establish this at bedtime by warming the bedding with our body.

The Temperature To Sleep Well
Temperature is indeed a major factor in the sleep environment. Undeniably, during the night, the body is more sensitive to temperature rises, because the internal regulation mechanisms operate in slow motion. The ideal for a good night is to lower the temperature of the room compared to living rooms. A lower temperature favors the lowering of body temperature and therefore conditions conducive to a good sleep.

We often advise a temperature of 18 to 21 ° C but everything depends on how we sleep. If you sleep naked and without sheets, you will have to be closer to 30 ° C!

Noise Is Not Accepted
Noise is the main disruptive sleep, especially in the city. According to a survey conducted a few years by some experts, nearly all folks actually complain about their sound environment (public transport, neighborhood, relatives). Noise can cause micro-awakenings, which the person cannot remember or longer awakenings can become insomnia.

Even if the person does not remember waking up, these micro-awakenings cause a fragmentation of sleep and negatively impact its recovery function. The individual feels tired on waking; he is more nervous, more irritable and increases the risk of associated pathologies.

One way to decrease the amount of noise during sleep is by the use of sleep-plugs. (Link is in Dutch).

The Light
Light plays a crucial role in the synchronization of the internal biological clock. The ideal is an alternation between light and complete darkness, respectively in a phase of awakening and sleep.
It is therefore desirable to lower the light intensity during bedtime as to stay away from bad temperature. This is why screens are strongly discouraged before going to bed.

Sleep Hygiene
To sleep well, avoid stimulating activities such as intensive sports after 5 pm, avoid heavy meals, decompress before going to bed, take a hot bath if possible 2 hours before and warm your hands and feet at bedtime. In case of awakening, to promote falling asleep, it is important to refresh your bed by shaking the sheets for example.

During the day, we will also avoid naps too long or late. It can also be of great support to eat according to the Chronobiology of the brain.

How To Improve Your Sleep Environment?
• The room must be the quietest room in the house; isolate from the noise is the priority
• The temperature of the room should be around 21 degrees under normal conditions (light pajamas, sheet, and blanket)
• The colors of the room must be soothing (blue, white)
• The ideal is that the room is plunged into total darkness during the night (no devices on standby, no alarm clock back, shutters closed)
• Respect for bedtime rituals (habits you have before you sleep like reading, taking a shower is also very important
• The bedding and the pillows must be of quality, adapted to your position of sleep, your weight.
• The bed is only for sleeping and not for playing, working or watching TV

In Conclusion
Our immune defenses are indeed the most effective during our sleep, thus we need to stay away from unaccepted temperature as well as anything that affects our sleep negatively. When we sleep, the body produces secretions of hormones such as dopamine or prolactin. They are the ones that boost our immunity or accelerate cell healing and renewal. A good sleep is therefore essential to the good hormonal balance.

Another little-known advantage is that sleep is an essential element of memorization. If perhaps we learn in the day, it’s during the night season that the very information is going to be sorted, processed as well as stored by our very own brain, and that could happen via the recommended temperature for appropriate sleep.

For sleep-related products and more tips on how to improve your sleep quality, you can look at Slaaploos. (Currently only available in Dutch)

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