You might not think it, but the temperature of your bedroom is crucial for your sleep. If the room is too hot or too cold, you are much less likely to get a good night’s sleep. Similarly, if you wake up in the middle of the night, you’re less likely to go back to sleep quickly if the temperature is wrong.
When you’re winding down for the night, your body temperature decreases which helps induce sleep. If your room is too hot, you will be restless and therefore unable to sleep. If it’s too cold in your room, or the room’s too draughty, you’ll also have difficulty falling asleep because you’re uncomfortable.
Everyone’s different, which means what’s comfortable as a bedroom temperature will vary. However, as a rough rule of thumb, the Sleep Council recommends that the optimum temperature is between 16C and 18C, with slightly higher temperatures for younger children and elderly adults. If the temperature is below 12C, then it will be too cold to get to sleep, so the recommendation is to use a thicker duvet, add extra blankets, wear socks or fill up a hot water bottle.
The American National Sleep Foundation recommends a hot water bottle for your feet if you find it difficult to fall asleep when the temperature drops. The heat from the water will encourage vasodilation – the widening of your blood vessels – which leads to an increase in blood flow and a decrease in blood pressure. This helps distribute the heat throughout your body which enables you to fall asleep.
Having the central heating too high
In the UK, we rarely have to worry about the air temperature being too hot to sleep. Being too cold is a completely different matter! Thankfully, central heating is such a fundamental part of our lives, being too cold to sleep is a rare occurrence.
However, with the efficiency of modern radiators, people tend to have the heating on too high in the bedroom in the evenings, and it’s the artificial heat from the radiators that will keep them awake. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, or are feeling very restless at bedtime, then maybe it’s a good time to turn the heating down in the bedroom to give you a better chance of a good night’s sleep.