When it comes to optimal sleep all year round, think of your bedroom as a cave: quiet, dark, and cool. But that last one stumps a lot of people … howcool, exactly?
Before discussing room temperature, let’s chat very briefly about your body temp. It decreases once you start drifting off to sleep. Because of that, it’s recommended that you sleep in a relatively cool environment to match. The Cleveland Clinic notes that the suggested bedroom temperature for optimal sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees F -- and the National Sleep Foundation falls right in line with that, suggesting an ideal temp of 65 degrees F. (For babies and toddlers, a very slightly higher temperature — between 65 and 70 degrees — is optimal.)
If the temperature falls much hotter or lower than that range, you have more of a chance of waking up throughout the night, which impacts the quality of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep — the most restful sleep (and the one where you dream).
Since we’re currently in the depths of August heat, we figured you might be looking for ways to sleep cooler besides just turning on the A/C. So here are some tips, a number of which will serve you not just in summer, but all year round:
-- If it’s hotter outside than inside, close the blinds and the windows during the day. Once the sun’s down, open both, and enjoy that breeze. (If the A/C is on or if it’s crazy-hot outside, it’s best not to keep the windows open too far ... but even then, a little fresh air is never a bad idea.)
-- If you do use A/C, turn it on a few hours before bedtime. Putting it on right before bed will likely not cool you down in time to save your sleep.
-- Use a fan -- even with A/C. Not only does this help circulate air and keep the room temperature even, but a lot of people find it functions as white noise that helps block out unwanted sounds, from city traffic to the neighbor’s toddler.
-- Find a mattress made with materials that have built-in temperature-regulating properties and a cool-to-the-touch feel (our new Supreme is pretty amazing on this front).
-- Use crisp, breathable sheets and pillowcases (percale is especially refreshing for summertime). An all-season duvet cover will also help keep you from overheating in summer.
-- Cool your body before bed with a brief cool shower — and avoid eating or exercising too late.
-- Stay hydrated during the day. And keep a glass of water by the bed. Hydration is key to a healthy life in general, and that includes good sleep.
-- Lastly ... do you really need to wear jammies at night in summer? Or anything at all, for that matter? ...