Is It Really Better To Sleep in a Cold Room?

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We don’t often think about the temperature of our bedrooms unless it’s the middle of summer and we’re trying everything we can to get comfortable.

What you might not have considered is that it’s beneficial to keep your bedroom cold year-round. Not only does it help improve sleep quality, but it can also prevent disease and slow down the aging process.

In this article, we’ll share the top benefits you can experience by keeping your bedroom cooler, as well as tips on how you can cool down your room without cranking up the air conditioner.

We’ll also answer your burning questions about the health risks of sleeping in the cold.

8 Benefits of Sleeping in a Cool Room

As nighttime approaches, our body temperature naturally drops, signaling that it’s time to slow down and get some rest. By keeping your bedroom cooler, you’re reinforcing your body’s natural instinct to sleep. If the room is too hot, it could potentially block that signal and cause it to take longer for you to fall asleep.

1. Fall Asleep Quickly

As nighttime approaches, our body temperature naturally drops, signaling that it’s time to slow down and get some rest. By keeping your bedroom cooler, you’re reinforcing your body’s natural instinct to sleep. If the room is too hot, it could potentially block that signal and cause it to take longer for you to fall asleep.

2. Better Sleep Quality

If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, you know how disruptive that can be. If you keep your bedroom cooler and regulate the temperature throughout the night, you’ll find that your sleep quality improves.

Another way that keeping your room cold can improve the quality of your rest is by stimulating melatonin production1, a hormone that promotes sleep.

You also have a greater chance of experiencing deep sleep if your room is cold. Sleeping in a cool room can help you combat insomnia by lowering your body temperature, which then slows down your metabolism rate. As a result, you don’t spend as much energy during sleep, and you’re less likely to wake up in the middle of the night.

Find Out More: How Thermoregulation Works During Sleep

3. Anti-Aging

As mentioned above, cooler rooms encourage the body to produce melatonin. In addition to promoting sleep, melatonin is also a powerful anti-aging hormone. Other benefits of increased melatonin production are regular menstrual cycles, enhanced moods, weight loss, cancer-fighting properties, and increased brain health.

4. Weight Loss

Sleeping in a cold room can help you with your weight loss goals. Again, when your room is set to an optimal, cooler temperature, the melatonin your body produces will cause your body to store “beige fat,” which contrary to the name, helps you burn calories instead of storing them.

5. Decreased Risk of Disease

In addition to the phenomenon of beige and brown fat increasing in cooler temperatures and causing your body to burn more calories, it also increases insulin sensitivity2, which lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Colder sleeping temperatures also promote glucose disposal, another indicator of type 2 diabetes risk.

Diabetes isn’t the only disease that a cold room could help combat. The increased melatonin production could also have a positive influence on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Since melatonin can improve sleep, this could lower one’s risk of dementia3. However, experts do not recommend melatonin for elderly people already living with dementia due to a higher risk of falls and other accidents.

6. Prevents Insomnia

A stressful day and an overactive brain aren’t the only things keeping you awake at night. According to experts, one of the potential symptoms of stress is an elevated body temperature4.

Remember that our bodies cool off at night in anticipation of sleep. However, if your body is hot due to stress, you’ll have to alter your environment to cool you down enough to signal that it’s time for bed.

Illustration of a Family Suffering from Insomnia

7. Enhances Mood

There are a couple of ways that sleeping in cold rooms can enhance your mood. The first and most obvious one is that since a cooler room improves the quality of your sleep, you’ll wake up more rested and feel better.

The other reason has to do with the link between melatonin and serotonin. Serotonin5 is a known mood-enhancer, and it’s also the precursor for melatonin, meaning that melatonin is made from it. When we have enough of both of these hormones in our brains, we rest better and feel happier.

8. Reduces Stress Levels

Similar to the mood-enhancing effects of colder temperatures in the bedroom, you’ll also find that getting a higher quality of sleep reduces stress all day long. Chronic stress6 can lead to long-term health complications, such as depression, stomach problems, muscle tension, weight gain, and memory and concentration difficulties. Therefore, doing your best to alleviate stress is important.

How to Make a Hot Room Colder

Use a fan

A fan can help regulate the temperature of your bedroom while also circulating air. Another reason to sleep with a fan on is that the air will help evaporate any sweat that forms on your body while you’re sleeping.

Here’s an advanced hack: fill a mixing bowl with ice or an ice pack, and then put it at an angle in front of your fan. The fan will create an icy cold and refreshing blast of air. However, avoid leaving the fan pointing directly at you all night as this can result in morning aches.

Get More Info: Top Rated Fans for Sleeping

Use a cooling mattress topper

If you sleep on a memory foam mattress, you may find that it traps heat and makes you hotter. Fortunately, you can find cooling mattress toppers to help with this. Many cooling foam toppers are infused with gel for temperature regulation.

A latex topper is another excellent option to cool you down while sleeping. Latex is naturally breathable and unlikely to accumulate heat. Plus, some latex toppers have a breathable cover for enhanced cooling.

View Our Full Guide: Best Cooling Mattress Topper

illustration of couple sleeping on cooling bed topper

Sleep naked

Removing your clothes and sleeping naked will help keep your core temperature in check. Conversely, if you sleep with a partner, be advised that you’ll create extra body heat with skin-to-skin contact.

Want to learn more? Check out other benefits of sleeping unclothed.

Open your window

An open window also helps circulate air, similar to using a fan.

Another benefit of leaving your window open has to do with carbon dioxide levels. According to a study conducted at the Eindhoven University of Technology7, the lower carbon dioxide levels present in rooms with open windows caused subjects to sleep more deeply and efficiently while also experiencing fewer awakenings.

You’ll want to keep your windows closed during the day, but as temperatures drop in the evening, crack open a window and let the fresh air cool down your room.

Drink water

Water has a cooling effect and will help decrease your body’s core temperature. Water makes up 60 percent8 of the human body, which in itself explains how important it is to stay hydrated. While you should drink at least 90 to 125 ounces of water during the day, your last glass should be a few hours before bed. Drinking water right before bed could result in having to get up multiple times to use the restroom at night, negatively impacting your quality of rest.

Read More: Drinking Water Before Bed

Illustration of a Woman Drinking Water Before Bed

Stick your feet out

Sleeping barefoot and sticking one or both feet out from under the covers will help keep you cooler. We lose a lot of body heat through our head, hands, and feet, so allowing your feet to breathe has a cooling effect.

Try using cooling sheets

Investing in good cooling sheets is a great way to stay cool. Many of these sheets are made with breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics. Additionally, you should avoid flannel or synthetic materials that trap heat. You can also try putting your top sheet in the freezer and taking it out right before bed to experience ice-cold bliss.

Buy a cooling pillow

Cooling pillows can have the same effect as cooling sheets. These pillows are made from various materials, so you can find ones with memory foam, down, down alternative, latex, and more. Each model has unique features like an open-cell structure, gel infusions, and a cooling cover that help keep the surface cool to the touch.

Ditch the incandescent light

Incandescent lights generate a ton of heat. Instead, opt for LED lights in your bedroom. Remember to keep them off while you’re asleep, and avoid turning them on in the middle of the night.

Sleep downstairs

Heat rises, so if you have a bedroom on the bottom floor, you’ll be able to sleep much cooler. In some cases, you may have to sleep upstairs, so you could try adjusting your foundation to make the mattress more breathable. If your bed foundation is solid, the air may get trapped, making the mattress warmer than if it were on a different foundation. One of the best options is a slated foundation that still supports the bed but has enough space between each slate to let air pass through.

Invest in blackout curtains

Any light that you’re exposed to after bedtime will interrupt melatonin production, and we already mentioned how important melatonin is for your sleep. Blackout curtains also prevent heat from entering your bedroom during the day and in the morning.

Looking for more info? Check out our top-rated blackout curtains guide.

A Woman Putting on Curtains Illustration

Keep blinds closed

Heat can build up in your bedroom and take hours to dissipate, especially in warmer months. You can prevent this by keeping your curtains and blinds closed during the day and at night. The curtains should keep the heat out and prevent it from being trapped in your bedroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any health risks?

As long as you feel comfortable, there are no health risks to sleeping in a colder room. Ideally, you should keep the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees to experience the maximum benefits.

Keep in mind that if you’re too cold, you’ll either have to bundle up, which will cause you to feel hot later, or you’ll be shivering and too uncomfortable to sleep deeply.

If you have an infant in the room with you, you’ll need to adjust your range. Infants should sleep in rooms ranging from 65 to 70 degrees. Anything cooler, and they tend to be extra fussy.

Need more info? Read our full guide to ideal room temp for baby.

What’s the ideal sleeping temperature?

Many people ask the question, “What's the best temperature for sleep?” The best way to answer this is to think of what type of environment is most natural to us as humans. We should slumber in something that most closely resembles a cool, dark cave.

While our individual preferences will vary, the temperatures that most resemble a natural sleeping environment would range between 60 and 67 degrees.

Can it cause nightmares?

The myth that sleeping in a cold room can cause nightmares persists, even though no evidence supports it.

That being said, any room that is uncomfortable can influence our sleep patterns and could cause nightmares. While a cold room alone won’t directly cause nightmares, if a room is either too cold or too hot for your liking, you may be more likely to have a bad dream.

For More Info: How To Avoid Nightmares

What happens if you stay in a cold room for too long?

If you stay in a cold room for too long, you may lower your body temperature too much, which can then result in hypothermia. Abnormally low body temperature affects the brain and may make it difficult to move or think straight. However, this only stands for rooms colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why do I sleep better in a cold room?

A cold sleeping environment helps lower your body temperature, making it easier to experience deep sleep. This is why you usually feel well-rested after sleeping in a cold room. Plus, lower temperatures help with melatonin production and better sleep quality.

Conclusion

Getting a restful night is a top priority for many of us, and knowing that something as simple as sleeping in a colder bedroom can help us do that is an easy tip to implement.

Furthermore, cooler bedrooms can also help fight disease, slow the aging process, and put us in a better mood.

Sources:

  1. Xu, Xiaoying., Liu, Xiaoyan., Ma, Shuran., Xu, Ya., Xu, Ying., Guo, Xiazhen., Li, Dekui. “Association of Melatonin Production with Seasonal Changes, Low Temperature, and Immuno-Responses in Hamsters”. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017911/. 2018.
  2. Cheng, Long., Wang, Jingkang., Dai, Hongyu., Duan, Yuhui., An, Yongcheng., Shi, Lu., et. al. “Brown and beige adipose tissue: a novel therapeutic strategy for obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus”. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801117/#:~:text=Activation%20of%20beige%20and%20brown,obesity%20and%20T2DM%20%5B30%5D. 2021.
  3. “Melatonin”. Cognitive Vitality. Last modified June 13, 2016. https://www.alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/ratings/melatonin#:~:text=Melatonin%20is%20a%20hormone%20produced,with%20Alzheimer's%20and%20other%20dementias.
  4. “Yes, stress can cause a fever — here’s how to tell if you have a psychogenic fever”. The American Institute of Stress. https://www.stress.org/yes-stress-can-cause-a-fever-heres-how-to-tell-if-you-have-a-psychogenic-fever#:~:text=Both%20acute%20and%20chronic%20stress,are%20most%20common%20in%20females. 2020.
  5. McGinty PhD, Dennis T. “Serotonin and Sleep: Molecular, Functional, and Clinical Aspects”. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2675905/. 2009.
  6. “Stress management”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified July 8, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037.
  7. van Ruitenbeek, A.M. “Indoor environment of sleeping rooms and sleep quality a research on the influence of carbon dioxide levels on sleep quality in an intervention study”. Eindhoven University of Technology. https://pure.tue.nl/ws/portalfiles/portal/46942879/850723-1.pdf. 2016.
  8. Water Science School. “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body”. United States Geological Survey. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topics/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0. 2019.

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Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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