How does the air temperature of your bedroom affect your sleep?
Experts agree the temperature of your sleeping area and how comfortable you feel in it affect how well and how long you sleep. Why? “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature, that is the temperature your brain is trying to achieve, goes down,” says H. Craig Heller, PhD, professor of biology at Stanford University, who wrote a chapter on temperature and sleep for a medical textbook. “Think of it as the internal thermostat.” If it’s too cold, or too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point.
That mild drop in body temperature induces sleep. Generally, Heller says, “If you are in a cooler, rather than too warm room, it is easier for that to happen.” But if the room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up, says Ralph Downey III, PhD, chief of sleep medicine at Loma Linda University.
He explains that the comfort level of your bedroom temperature also especially affects the quality of REM (short for rapid eye movement sleep), the stage in which you dream.
There are other strategies for creating ideal sleeping conditions as well. Experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, for instance, advise thinking of a bedroom as a cave:
It should be quiet, dark, and COOL. Bats follow this logic and they are true champion sleepers, getting in 16 hours a day! But you have to be wary of memory foam pillows, which feel good because they conform closely to your body shape, but may make you feel too hot. And keep in mind that wearing warm socks on your feet, in the cold winter months in particular, can prevent any disruptive and unpleasant sleep. Sometimes, little things can make a great difference, right?
How do your sleeping conditions affect your brown fat?
Until recently, scientists deemed that adults do not have brown fat at all!
However, over the last few years they found a very small and meager amount which is the size of a teaspoon in the neck and upper back of many adult humans. This is very important as brown fat, unlike the well-known white fat is metabolically active. Experiments on mice have shown that it is necessary that the sugar is expelled from the bloodstream to begin to burn calories and maintain internal body temperature.
Nice and relaxed sleep is extremely important for enjoying good health, as we all know. But a new study has shown that sleeping in a cooler room significantly improves our health. Colder bedrooms could subtly transform your brown fat (considered good fat) into a higher level of metabolic activity, even during the day!
A similar process takes place in humans. A new study, published in July by the American Society of Diabetes, in collaboration with the National Institute of Health investigated the impact of climate controlled rooms, where five young volunteering men were sleeping for a couple of months. The young men lived their standard lives during the days, but in the evening, they went to sleep at the Institute. All meals, including lunch were secured in order to maintain the proper calorie intake. They slept under light-weighted sheets.
During the first month, the researchers kept the room temperature at 24˚C, holding that the neutral temperature will stimulate the body’s reaction. Next month, the room temperature was reduced to 19˚C, for which the researchers believed that stimulated the brown adipose tissue (but not to cause shivering, which is a standard reaction at lower temperatures). Next month, the temperature of the room was again returned to 24˚C, to abolish all the effects of the cold room, and at the end of the last month, the temperature was increased to 27˚C. During the experiment, blood sugar, insulin levels and daily caloric intake was closely monitored, and also at the end of each month the amount of brown fat was precisely measured.
The cold temperature, as the research shows, changed their bodies considerably. What is most surprising, after several weeks of sleep at a temperature of 19˚C, the men have almost twice increased the volume of their brown fat. Their insulin sensitivity, which is affected by changes in the blood sugar, has improved as well.
“Changes were slightly improved, but this change is significant,” said Francesco S. Celi, one of the researchers and a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University.
“To strongly encourage your metabolism, lower few degrees of temperature in your bedrooms. My room temperature, as well as the temperature in my office has another benefit – shorter meetings. It is obvious that reducing the temperature of our environment improves certain mechanisms that so far have not been written about and discussed a lot. “
So, if insomnia is your problem, check if your bedroom is too hot or too cold. Obviously, both extremes can affect your snoozing. Simply adjust the temperature and sleep much better!
American Society of Diabetes
American Academy of Sleep Medicine