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The Best Temperature for Sleeping | Men and Women (2021 Data)

It seems like sleep should come so easily. You lie down, close your eyes, and in a couple of minutes, you’re in the land of Nod.

But it’s not always that easy. If you’re looking to optimize your sleeping environment – the temperature is a common place to start.

You may be struggling with insomnia.

This lack of sleep can have several health consequences. In the short-term, it leaves you feeling drained and unfocused. You’ll struggle through work and feel devoid of energy all day.

Over prolonged periods, sleep deprivation leads to higher blood pressure, inflammation, and imbalances in your blood sugar levels.

Several factors go into ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. Temperature is one that many overlook when they’re counting sheep with no success.

Table of Contents

How Does Temperature Affect Your Sleep?
What’s the Best Temperature for Sleep?
Tips for Finding the Best Temperature for Sleep
The Final Word

How Does Temperature Affect Your Sleep?

There are several ways that temperature affects your sleep. On the most basic level, the room temperature can prevent you from getting to sleep at all.

If you feel too hot, you’ll spend most of the night trying to cool yourself down. When you feel too cold, you’ll be too focused on how cold you feel to get to sleep at all.

But it’s the effect that the room temperature has on you while you sleep that’s most interesting.

This is because your brain reduces your body’s temperature as part of the sleeping process. This body temperature creates the ideal conditions for your body to repair itself and absorb whatever information you took in during the day.

The external temperature messes with your body’s natural ability to control its own temperature. If you already feel too cool or too warm, you’ll struggle to reach the body temperature you need for deep, refreshing sleep.

The effect is the same in both uncomfortably warm and cold conditions. Your body can’t reach the right temperature, which means you keep waking up during the night. Not only do you struggle to get to sleep in the first place, but you can’t stay asleep for a long enough period to refresh yourself.

This isn’t the only thing your room temperature affects either. Poor conditions also have a direct effect on the quality of your rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

This is the stage of sleep during which your brain is at its most active, causing dreams to occur. Most experts believe it also helps your brain to sift through the information you learned during the day, plus it likely has an effect on your mood.

One study shows that a lack of REM sleep aggravates the levels of irritation and lack of focus that sleeplessness causes.

It may also affect the levels of antioxidants in your body.

Simply put, your body and brain both need you to achieve REM sleep. This typically happens after about 90 minutes of sleep. Your body goes in and out of the REM stage, with each stage lasting longer than the one before.

If you wake up due to inconsistent room temperatures, you interrupt that cycle. You have to wait another 90 minutes for your body to reach the REM stage again, plus you don’t spend as much time as you could in the REM stage.

What’s the Best Room Temperature for Sleep?

It’s difficult to nail down a perfect temperature range that will help you to get to sleep. It differs slightly depending on several factors, including your age and gender.

Generally speaking, most experts agree that the ideal bedroom temperature falls between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 and 19.4 degrees Celsius).

These conditions mean the room is cool enough to help your body find its ideal sleeping temperature, without being so cool as to cause discomfort.

best temperature for sleep

Remember setting your air conditioning at 65 degrees ensures it will always stay colder than 65 degrees. If you set your heat at 65 degrees it will always be warmer than that temperature.

But the differences between men and women add an extra wrinkle.

Sleep Temperatures and Men

Men are the simpler of the two when it comes to finding the right sleep temperature. That’s because their body temperatures remain fairly constant during the course of the night.

This means that their bodies don’t struggle as much to adapt to changing conditions, be they internal or external. As long as the room temperature falls within the above range, men shouldn’t find that the temperature prevents them from sleeping.

Sleep Temperatures and Women

Things get a little more complicated for women. This is because their body temperatures rely on their menstrual cycles. As the cycle progresses and changes, a woman’s body temperature changes along with it.

This lack of consistency means that even a room within the perfect temperature range may not always suit their needs.

This is a particular problem for menopausal women. They often experience hot flushes throughout menopause, which causes their body temperatures to rocket up. Sleeping in a room with a temperature within the range above does little to keep them cool.

One minute they feel too warm. The next, the flush ends and they feel too cool again.

optimal sleeping temperature

Unfortunately, there’s little that you can do to predict or protect against hot flushes. Wearing lighter clothing may help, as may using light bedsheets. However, that rapid variance in temperature may wake you up, regardless of the temperature of the room.

Menstruation isn’t the only cause of these temperature differences either. Generally speaking, women’s extremities aren’t as warm as men’s.

A study published in the Lancet Medical Journal highlighted this difference. It found that women’s hands are an average of 2.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

This doesn’t affect your core body temperature. However, it does lead to feelings of discomfort, which prevent you from sleeping.

What Other Factors Affect Sleep Temperature?

Some medical conditions prevent your body from regulating its temperature properly. For example, a fever may increase your body temperature to the point where you’re constantly uncomfortable, no matter how cool the room.

Other medical conditions may make you feel like you’re too cold when you’re actually feverish. This is a common issue that those with the flu must deal with.

Hypertension also causes issues because it prevents blood from circulating through your body properly.

This means that your body struggles to get rid of internal heat when it needs to cool down. It may also prevent you from warming up as fast as you need to in cooler conditions.

Other circulatory issues, such as Raynaud’s disease, can have a similar effect.

Finally, aging also leads to your ideal sleep temperature changing. As you get older, the layer of fat directly beneath your skin gets thinner. This reduces your body’s ability to naturally insulate itself against the cold, or to prevent heat from penetrating your skin.

As a result, your body reacts more to slight changes in temperature. The ideal temperature range that you had when you were in your 20s usually gets much narrower by the time you’re in your 50s.

These factors all combine with the environment to affect your body’s temperature as you sleep.

5 Best Tips for Finding the Best Temperature for Sleep

You don’t have control over every factor that affects your body’s temperature as you sleep.

However, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself.

best temperature for sleep
1. Experiment with Different Ranges

The recommended range above is only a general guideline. Most people’s ideal sleeping temperature falls within that range, but a few may sleep better in warmer or colder conditions.

There is no one optimal sleeping temperature for humans.

Try experimenting with different room temperature settings. Record your results the next day. Having a sleep tracking device, such as a FitBit may help you to figure out how well you sleep at each temperature.

hot water bottle in bed

2. Hot and Cold Water Bottles

You may not be able to control the temperature of your room. Perhaps you want to save money by not using the HVAC system, or there’s an issue that prevents it from working.

Either way, you can’t rely on it to help you find the right temperature. That’s where a hot or cold water bottle may help.

Curling up with the appropriate bottle helps your body to find the temperature it needs for good sleep. Better yet, the bottle’s temperature changes during the night, meaning there’s little chance of it waking you up.

If you are sick, a hot water bottle may help you from becoming chilled.

optimal sleeping temperature

3. Open the Doors and Windows

Keeping your windows and doors shut traps air in your room. If the room was already too hot, it’s not going to cool down. The air can’t circulate out of the room and there’s no cool air coming in to cool the temperature.

Opening your windows and doors is a simple solution. This allows air to circulate more, which can reduce the temperature enough to help you hit your ideal range.

women taking cold shower

4. Cool Yourself before Going to Bed

Again, this tip helps you when trying to sleep in a warm room. There are several ways to cool yourself before going to bed.

For example, you could take a cool shower to lower your body’s temperature. This means your body has less work to reach the ideal sleep temperature. However, taking a shower before bed may make you more alert, which doesn’t help you to get to sleep.

Another solution is to place a cool flannel or towel over your head. Remember that heat generally leaves your body through your head, so this trick can speed up the process.

bed sheets
5. Change the Sheets

Your bedsheets and nightwear may be to blame for you failing to find the right temperature. Thin sheets during winter leave you feeling uncomfortably cold. A heavy duvet in the summer keeps you too warm.

A quick change of the sheets may be all that you need to stay at the right temperature. Keep separate sets for winter and summer.

The Final Word

Finding the ideal sleep temperature isn’t as easy as you may think. It’s as much to do with your own body as it is your sleeping conditions.

Ideally, you’re looking to ensure the room falls within the right temperature range and that you account for as many external factors as possible. Often, a simple change of the sheets is all you need to bring the temperature to the right level.

Ideally, you’re looking to ensure the room falls within the right temperature range and that you account for as many external factors as possible. Often, a simple change of the sheets is all you need to bring the temperature to the right level.