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Best Sleep Temperature

May 17, 2018


Playing hot-potato, cold-potato with sleep

Literal billions have been spent over the years to determine exactly what it is we need to do (and eat and think and wear and on and on…) to get a good night’s sleep. The question has left us hot and bothered. And that, it seems, might be part of the problem: temperature. Some experts say it may be even more detrimental to a good night’s sleep than light.

In 1999, a study concerning the relationship between bedroom temperature and quality of sleep first sparked serious discussion of the topic. As recently as 2017, these findings were again confirmed (on a much larger scale) in a study published under Science Advances. While this study’s primary focus was climate change, the results spoke for themselves.

We know that our bodies require an adjustment period before we can achieve restful sleep. Sleep inducing hormones must be triggered, general biorhythms must slow, etc. The net effect is that, immediately prior to sleep, our bodies’ core temperature cools by a few degrees. While normal body temperature is accepted as 37 degrees celsius, normal sleeping body temperature is closer to 36 or 35.

It is, of course, not that simple. One would have to distinguish between the temperature of the core (the stomach, chest and head) and the shell temperature (skin, muscles and limbs). These are interconnected but act uniquely during different stages of sleep. For example, during REM-sleep, the brain’s temperature rises while the shell temperature drops. A normal sleeper reaches their coolest core body temperature about two hours before their normal waking time. One thing is certain: a cooler body temperature leads to a quicker transition into sleep and, if maintained, ensures a more restful slumber.

Now, how to aid the body in regulating its internal temperatures? This is especially difficult in a country like South Africa, with its wild meteorological mood swings. The favorite, of course, is though climate control or air conditioning. Studies have shown that a maintained room temperature as low as 16-19 degrees celsius have proven optimal.

But regulating room temperature counts for nothing if your bed and bedding are constantly driving your body temperature up. If you find yourself sweating or lolling with one leg out of the covers, you’re sleeping too hot. (At this delicate juncture, to head off argument, it deserves to be mentioned that men require cooler temperatures for optimal sleep than women.)

Invest in a less dense mattress that does not retain lots of heat. Memory foam, for example, tends to hoard a lot of body heat and can lead to some uncomfortable nights. Mattresses that allow more free airflow are key. Lighter polyurethane foams or latex foams  allow more air to pass. And non-restrictive continuous coil springs are to be preferred.

Bedding plays an enormous role in regulating body temperature. The closer to 100% cotton the bedding, the better. Cotton breathes well and allows the body to control its own temperature fluxuations unimpeded. Look at 100% cotton duvet covers and opt for thinner, synthetic fibre duvet inners. These have the advantage over traditional down inners as they have a lower insulation-to-weight ratio.

All in all, keep cool for a good night’s rest. Please browse our Bed King online store to ensure you are getting the best night’s sleep at the lowest price.


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