We don’t often think about the temperature of our bedrooms unless it’s the blistering middle of summer and we’re trying everything we can think of to get comfortable.
What you might not have considered is that it’s beneficial to keep our bedrooms cold year round. Not only does it help improve the quality of our sleep, but it can also prevent disease and even slow down the aging process!
In this article, I’ll share the top benefits you can experience by keeping your bedroom cooler, as well as a ton of tips about how you can cool down your room without cranking up the air conditioner.
I’ll also answer your burning questions about the health risks of sleeping in the cold and whether or not you can expect to experience nightmares.
Benefits of Sleeping in a Cool Room
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.
Improves Sleep Quality
Your body temperature bottoms out right before bed, and will rise naturally as you get closer to waking. This rise in body temperature can cause people to feel like they’re “sleeping hot.” 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 overall sleep quality improves.
Another way that keeping your room cold can improve the quality of your sleep is by stimulating melatonin production. It turns out that rooms with temperatures in the range of 60 to 68 degrees stimulate the production of melatonin, which encourages sleep.
As mentioned above, rooms between 60 and 68 degrees encourage the body to produce melatonin. In addition to promoting sleep, melatonin is also a powerful anti-aging hormone.
Improves Melatonin Levels
Okay, so you already know that higher melatonin levels equate to more sleep and anti-aging. Other benefits of increased melatonin production are regular menstrual cycles, enhanced moods, weight loss, cancer-fighting properties, and increased brain health.
This hormone is a powerful tool in our health arsenal!
Prevents Metabolic Disease
This is a politically correct way of saying that sleeping in a cold room can help prevent you from getting fat, and even 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.
Who knew that you could burn extra calories while you sleep?!
Decrease Risk of Disease
Conditions like type 2 diabetes are on the rise, so any tip about decreasing our risk gets our immediate attention. 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 sensitivity, 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 can freeze out. Because melatonin is a powerful antioxidant with the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, it’s been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s and aging of the brain.
A stressful day and an overactive brain aren’t the only things keeping you awake at night. Studies show that people who suffer from insomnia tend to have a warmer core body temperature before falling asleep than so-called normal people.
Remember that our bodies cool off at night in anticipation of sleep. But if your body automatically runs hot, you’ll have to alter your environment to cool your temperature down enough to signal that it’s time for bed.
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 overall. No one will accuse you of needing a nap for acting like a grumpy toddler!
The other reason has to do with the link between melatonin and serotonin. Serotonin 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.
Reduce 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.
How to Make a Hot Room Colder
Use a cooling gel bed topper
Use a fan
A quiet fan can help regulate the temperature of your bedroom while also circulating air. Another reason to use a fan 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 an angle in front of your fan. The fan will create an icy cold and refreshing blast of air.
Removing your clothes and being 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.
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 Technology, 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 heat of 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.
See our article on sipping water before bed for more info at nighttime.
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
Thin sheets are best for keeping cool. In fact, we review our favorite cooling sheets so you don't have to wake up feeling hot and sweaty. It's also advisable to 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.
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 on lower floors
Heat rises, so if you have a bedroom on the bottom floor, you’ll be able to sleep much cooler.
Invest in blackout curtains
Any light that you’re exposed to after bedtime will interrupt melatonin production. You already know how important melatonin is for your sleep! Blackout curtains also prevent heat from entering your bedroom during the day and in the morning.
The best kind to get is a neutral-colored curtain with a plastic backing. According to Consumer Reports, they can reduce net heat gain by up to 33 percent.
Keep blinds closed
In warmer months especially, heat can build up in your bedroom and take hours to dissipate. Keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day and at night to prevent heat 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 68 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 68 to 72 degrees. Anything cooler and they’ll tend to be extra fussy.
What’s the ideal sleeping temperature?
Many people ask the question, “What's the best temperature for sleep?” I tend 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 67-68 degrees.
Can it cause nightmares?
The myth that sleeping in a cold room can cause nightmares continues to persist, even though there is no evidence supporting 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 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.
Are bad dreams keeping you up at night? Our “How To Stop Nightmares” guide may be able to help you in that department.
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.
It’s an added bonus that cooler bedrooms can also help fight disease, slow down the aging process and put us in a better mood!
- How to Make Your Memory Foam Mattress Cooler in 3 Simple Steps
- How to Make Your Bed the Right Way – 8 Simple Steps
- Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3427038/
- [Brain temperature and sleep]. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23697227
- Body temperature and sleep at different times of day. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7163725
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
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.