A man reflected sleeps happily next to a thermometer

Finding the Right Temperature for a Good Night’s Sleep

I always wonder, does anyone really like waking up in the middle of the night sweating? I know I don’t. I have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a form of muscular dystrophy. One of the many side effects from the SMA is poor circulation. My feet tend to get very cold. Even with my poor circulation, I prefer to keep my room on the cooler side at night.

Our bodies have an internal thermostat

I spoke to my doctor recently about the benefits of sleeping in a cooler room. He basically said our bodies have an internal thermostat. When our core temperature drops, it signals to our body that it is time to sleep.

Think about bears hibernating. It is a similar reaction with our body too. If you are someone who has a harder time falling asleep, try lowering the temperature in your bedroom by a few degrees. It might help.

Benefits of a cooler body

When our bodies are cooler, our melatonin levels can increase. I’m sure some of you have seen melatonin sold in the store. Our bodies naturally produce it. Melatonin can assist your body in staying asleep during all the sleep stages.

My doctor explained this is very important because our bodies heal while we sleep. And a bonus, he said, is that good sleep helps slow down the aging process. Who doesn’t want that benefit?

But not too cold!

On the flip side, you don’t want to be so cold that you are shivering. When we shiver, it’s our body’s way of trying to warm up. If we are too cold, our bodies will wake us up then we end up piling on more blankets and maybe even turning up the heat. Then we are back to raising our core body temperature, which can keep us awake.

Finding the ideal temperature for sleep

The trick is to find the “sweet spot” when it comes to the temperature of our bedroom. It’s different for everyone. My doctor suggested that I keep the bedroom temperature between 60 to 68 degrees. It took a few days, but I have found that I sleep really well when the temperature is 66 degrees.

I bought a small thermometer that I keep in my room. I have noticed on nights I wake up that the room is warmer than I need it to be. I’ll then adjust the heat or air conditioner accordingly.

A cooler room has CPAP benefits too

A big benefit for me has also been the dry mouth syndrome. When I keep the room cooler, I don’t wake up with a dry mouth. The cooler room also makes wearing the CPAP mask more comfortable. Keeping the room cooler prevents me from sweating, which affects how comfortable my mask is during the night.

When you really start to think about good sleeping conditions, it can be eye-opening to see so many factors. I know I never really gave much thought about room temperature. However, since I have been actively monitoring it, I have noticed improvements in my sleep.

How about you?  Have you tried adjusting your room temperature? Try talking to your doctor about what’s best for you. I’d love to hear about your tips.

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