Keys to Successful Sleep

Retired couple sleeping

Sleep is an essential function and it’s how our mind and body recharge each day. It’s vital for our health, immune system, and mental function. Without adequate and restful sleep, the brain and body cannot function properly. The average adult requires somewhere between seven and nine hours, however some may function better with slightly more or slightly less sleep. 

Retired man happily wrapped in a blanket

Our internal “clock” regulates the sleep cycle, which controls when you feel tired, as well as when you feel refreshed and alert. This internal clock runs on a 24-hour cycle, commonly known as the circadian rhythm. During this cycle, your body temperature also has a pattern. The temperature pattern tends to peak around late afternoon and hit the lowest point (or when your body is the coolest) around 5 a.m. 

There are a lot of things that can impact a good nights’ sleep, such as stress, screen time, coffee intake, and evening light exposure. One controllable factor that may often be overlooked is temperature. The benefits of sleeping in cooler temps are due to your body’s core temperature. A cooling body temperature induces sleep, and keeping your body cool through the night has been shown to support better sleep patterns. 

Some things you can do to control your sleep temperature settings:

1. Check the thermostat. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep experts recommend keeping the room at 65 degrees. However, not everyone is the same. And, if you are currently sleeping in much warmer temperatures, it is not recommended to make a huge drop suddenly. Slowly decrease the bedroom temperature and see if it has a positive impact on your sleep.

2. Assess your bedding. Consider the type of sheets and blankets you have on the bed. Typically, cotton, bamboo, and linen are the best for keeping you cool. 

3. Pick your pajamas. Before climbing into bed, think about what you are wearing. Flannel pajamas may be super comfortable and cozy, but they are often too warm for sleeping. Consider wearing silk or cotton.

4. Avoid tight clothing. Wearing tight-fitting clothes to sleep will decrease the amount of airflow your body receives throughout the night, which can increase your body temperature. 

5. Use a fan. Fans are a great way to not only keep cool through the night, but they can also provide white noise, which is another great sleep aid. 

If you are struggling with getting enough restful rest at night, consider checking the temperature! While there are many different factors that can impact sleep, temperature is a relatively easy one to fix. Happy sleeping! 

Brittany Austin, National Director of Health and Wellness, Functional Pathways