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
1. Fall Asleep Quickly
When your circadian rhythm prepares the body for sleep, your body temperature drops1, 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.
Related: Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers
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 production2, 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
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.
Read More: Best Melatonin Supplements for Sleep
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.
Learn more about the connection between sleep and weight loss.
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 sensitivity3, 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 dementia4. 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 temperature5.
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.
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. Serotonin6 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 stress7 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 cooling mattress
If you tend to sleep hot, or your room is exceptionally hot, consider a cooling mattress.
Cooling mattresses typically have temperature-regulating features, such as copper infusions or gels.
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
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
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 Technology8, 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.
Water has a cooling effect and will help decrease your body’s core temperature. Water makes up 60 percent9 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
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.
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.
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.
12 Ways to Cool Down a Room for Better Sleep
1. Close the Drapes or Blinds
During the day, the sun will shine into your windows and heat up your bedroom, especially if your windows are facing south or west. This is because south-facing windows will get sun for the longest during the day and west-facing windows will get sun at the hottest part of the day, in the afternoon.
If you don’t have air conditioning, a great way to cool down your room, especially one with south or west-facing windows, is to keep the blinds or drapes shut during the sunny hours of the day. This will help heat from building up in the room throughout the day, so by the time you go to bed at night, the room should be cooler.
To block the sun’s rays, the thicker the drapes, the better. In fact, blackout curtains are great for this purpose. As the name suggests, this type of curtain is designed to completely block out light by utilizing a lining or back with a tightly woven fabric. They’re also popular for those working third-shift schedules and need to sleep during the day.
2. Use a Dehumidifier
The only thing worse than being hot at night is being hot and sticky at night. Using a dehumidifier will not only circulate chilled air in the room, but it will remove moisture from the air.
These devices work by pulling warm, moist air into the unit and chilling it against coils containing a liquid coolant. Then the dry, cooler air is sent back out into the room.
Plus, according to Johns Hopkins, dehumidifiers are great for those with allergies as they curb the growth of dust mites and mold.
3. Open the Windows at Night
Once the sun has set, outdoor temperatures will typically drop. If they go below the temperature it is inside your home, opening the windows will cool your room down. If you have a multiple-story home, keep in mind that warm air rises. Therefore, you’ll want to crack the upstairs windows to let the warm air out and the cool air in.
If you have sash windows – windows that open vertically, rather than horizontally – researchers with the University of Cambridge have found that it’s a good strategy to leave sash windows in the mid-position, rather than nearly fully opened or nearly fully closed. This will create the best ventilation, causing the cool air to flush the warm air out of the room and also cooling the walls, floor, and ceiling.
Once the sun rises in the morning, though, close your windows, blinds, and curtains again to trap the cool air inside as best you can and prevent your room from heating up during the day.
If the noise outside is keeping you from opening your windows at night, white noise machines could help cancel out that sound.
4. Try to Create a Cross-Breeze
What’s better than cool air coming in through one window? Cool air moving through the room, via two windows.
If you have two windows in your bedroom that are in line with or diagonal to each other, open them both at about 50 percent at night.
To make the cross breeze even stronger, place a fan on each windowsill. On one windowsill, have the fan pointing inward, toward the room. This will blow the cool outside air inside. On the other windowsill, have the fan pointing outward, toward the open window. This will blow air outside, creating a strong cross breeze.
If you don’t have two windows in your room, you can still create a cross breeze by placing a fan (or multiple fans) across from your open window. This will act as a replacement for the other window and provide a cross breeze.
5. Avoid Using Hot Appliances
The list of appliances that give off heat while running is a long one: lighting (especially incandescent and halogen lighting), televisions, dishwashers, refrigerators, and more. This is because these appliances take electrical energy as their input, then convert it to produce heat energy that will power the appliance.
Some appliances, though, are made for the sole purpose of generating heat. For example, a clothes dryer gets hot in order to dry your clothes; a stove or oven produces heat to cook your food. As such, these appliances give off so much excess heat that they could actually be contributing to your house warming up unnecessarily.
So, if it’s hot out and you want to cool things down, try not using your dryer, stove, or oven for a while. Instead, line dry your clothes and cook with the microwave (or better still, eat foods that don’t require cooking for a few days.)
6. Close Other Rooms in Your Home
If you’ve used blackout drapes, open your windows at night, and have a cross breeze, your room is probably nice and cool. The last thing you want is for this newly-created cool air to escape your bedroom when you’re trying to sleep. Therefore, be sure to close the bedroom door and close off other rooms in your home to trap the cool air in the room where you want it – namely, your bedroom, when you’re trying to get some sleep.
7. Turn Off the Lights
Light bulbs give off heat. Even though they might not be super noticeable, it adds up. When you’re not using the lights in a room, switch them off. During the longer summer days, you’ll have plenty of natural light from outside for visibility, and when it gets dark, consider lighting a few candles. By using candles instead of artificial lights at night, this will also help your brain switch into sleep mode. The reason for this is that artificial light, including blue light emitted from electronic devices, can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which is part of the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
If this solution isn’t for you, you can at least switch over from incandescent light bulbs to more energy-efficient ones. This will not only keep your space cooler, but it’s helpful to your energy bill and the environment. CFL lights use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights, and LEDs use 80 percent less energy.
8. Try a Portable Air Conditioner
Portable air conditioners are relatively small, you can move them from room to room, and they generally sit on the floor. The benefit of a portable AC compared to a window unit, is that you can move the portable unit anywhere there is a power source, rather than needing a window. These devices also require no installing.
The price between a portable unit and a window unit isn’t very different, but compared to installing central air conditioning, the price difference is vast. A portable AC unit might cost you anywhere between 300 and 500 dollars (and approximately 18 cents per hour you run it), compared to central air. Including installation, adding central air to your home will cost you anywhere from 2,500 to 9,000 dollars, depending on the size of your space.
If you only need to cool your home for a small portion of the year, have a small space, or only need to cool one room at a time, a portable air conditioning unit might be the solution for you.
9. Lower Your Mattress
This can mean lowering your mattress all the way to the floor, buying a bed frame that sits lower to the ground, or moving where you sleep in the house. If you typically sleep on an upper floor in your home, try sleeping downstairs.
As mentioned earlier, heat rises, but the other part of this equation is that cold air sinks. Putting your mattress or bed lower to the ground will actually put you in cooler air when you’re sleeping.
10. Hang Damp Sheets Around the Room
This is a good tip if you need to cool down a room fast, and you don’t have time to order a portable AC unit or go out and get some new blackout curtains.
You probably already have an extra sheet or two in your home. You’ll just drench it with cool water, ring it out, and then hang the sheet up near an open window. The breeze that comes through your window will be cooled down by the sheet, creating the cheapest and easiest DIY air conditioning ever.
Plus, if you use a dark sheet, in the morning this will help block out light and heat from the sun, hopefully earning you a few more minutes of cool, comfortable sleep.
11. Turn Your Ceiling Fan Counter-Clockwise
Did you know that ceiling fans can be used effectively year-round? In the winter, you should have your ceiling fan on the clockwise setting at a low speed. Since warm air rises, the gentle updraft created by this setting will allow that warm air to be redistributed through the space.
In the summer, though, you should set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise. This will push the air down and create a cool breeze.
Often, this is as easy as flipping a switch on your fan itself. Check your fan’s instruction manual if it isn’t immediately apparent.
12. Place Ice in Front of Your Fan
Using a portable fan is a great way to cool down the room, but if that’s not cutting it, you can add one ingredient to make the fan’s powers triple: ice.
You’ll place a bucket of ice in front of your fan and as the air passes over the ice, it will be chilled and circulate the cooler air around the room.
Why Heat Makes You Sleepy
When you become hot, your body will work in overdrive to keep you cool and maintain a safe internal temperature. All that hard work can leave you feeling sluggish.
The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that controls bodily functions, and it works with other parts of the body, including the sweat glands, skin, and blood vessels, to keep your temperature in check.
How the Body Regulates Temperature
One method your body uses to stay cool is sweating – or perspiration. Everyone’s body is made up of sweat glands, which is where sweat is produced. Human perspiration is mostly water, but it also contains small amounts of salt, sugar, ammonia, and urea.
The sweat will then exit through tiny holes in your skin called pores. As the sweat hits the air, it evaporates off your skin, which helps you remain cool.
Another way your body naturally cools itself is through a process called Vasodilation. During this process, your blood vessels become dilated, allowing more blood to flow to the skin’s surface to cool down the warm blood there. This is also why some people’s skin may appear more red when they’re hot.
Find Out More: Thermoregulation Guide
More Ways Heat Makes You Sleepy
In addition to your natural cooling system, there are other ways your body is affected by the heat that can leave you worn out.
You Become Dehydrated
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than you’re taking in. When you’re sweating, you are losing fluids more rapidly, and if you’re not replenishing them, you will likely become dehydrated. One of the effects of dehydration is fatigue.
Dehydration can also lead to more severe health conditions, including heat exhaustion, heatstroke, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, and hypovolemic shock. Anyone is vulnerable to the effects of dehydration, but it is more dangerous for young kids and older adults.
Drop In Blood Pressure
As previously mentioned, people who are hot may experience dehydration and increased blood flow to the skin. This can, in turn, lead to low blood pressure – or hypotension. Fatigue is one of the symptoms of low blood pressure.
Hypotension also puts you at a higher risk of dizziness, fainting, and falls, which can be especially hazardous for older adults.
It’s not just the physical effects of heat that can make you feel drowsy; there’s also a psychological reason.
Sometimes you’ll come across a certain song or smell, and you’re instantly reminded of a specific time or place in your past. When you associate something so strongly with a feeling, it often becomes linked.
We typically associate rest with feeling warm and cozy under the blankets or comforter of our bed. So, when you’re warm, it’s easy for your mind to think of this as sleep time and for you to react accordingly.
Sunburn Can Make You More Tired
Too much time in the sun without proper skin care can make you feel even more sleepy. When you develop a severe sunburn, this can exacerbate the effects of dehydration and possibly send you into shock. When you’re in shock, you might experience low blood pressure, fainting, and extreme weakness.
In some cases, your body can’t keep up, and you may develop what is known as heat exhaustion. This is when your body becomes overheated.
Heatstroke is the most serious of the heat-related conditions and can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Cool, moist skin
- Extreme sweating
- A weak or rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure while standing
- Muscle cramps
How Heat Could Help If You Have Trouble Sleeping at Night
For those who struggle to sleep at night, try using heat to your advantage.
The human body has a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle that is regulated by a circadian rhythm. This internal system also affects our body temperature, and at night, the circadian rhythm lowers our core temperature to initiate sleep.
Despite the body’s natural method to prepare us for bed, many folks still have difficulty falling asleep. According to research, a rapid decline in core temperature may help the sleep initiation process. Therefore, attempting to emulate this should help you sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any health risks to sleeping in cold temperatures?
As long as you feel comfortable, there are no health risks to sleeping in a colder room. Ideally, you should keep the temperature for sleep 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 sleeping in cold temperatures 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
Is it bad to sleep in a cold room?
Sleeping in a cold room is okay as long as you’re comfortable with the temperature. If you’re healthy, the crisp air is unlikely to make you sick. Instead, sleeping in a cold room has many benefits like reduced insomnia symptoms, better melatonin production, and deeper sleep.
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.
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.
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.
- “Sleep Too Hot Or Too Cold? Understanding Thermoregulation and Sleep”. Sleep Center of Middle Tennessee. 2022.
- Xu, Xiaoying., et al. “Association of Melatonin Production with Seasonal Changes, Low Temperature, and Immuno-Responses in Hamsters”. National Library of Medicine. 2018.
- Cheng, Long., et al. “Brown and beige adipose tissue: a novel therapeutic strategy for obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus”. National Library of Medicine. 2021.
- “Melatonin”. Cognitive Vitality. Last modified June 13, 2016.
- “Yes, stress can cause a fever — here’s how to tell if you have a psychogenic fever”. The American Institute of Stress. 2020.
- McGinty PhD, Dennis T. “Serotonin and Sleep: Molecular, Functional, and Clinical Aspects”. National Library of Medicine. 2009.
- “Stress management”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified July 8, 2021.
- 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. 2016.
- “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body”. United States Geological Survey. 2019.
Lead Product Tester
Julia is the Lead Reviewer at Sleep Advisor, specializing in testing out mattresses and sleep accessories – she’s in the right line of work, because she loves to sleep.