What if we were to ask ourselves: what is affecting our quality of sleep?
We could probably come up with hundreds of reasons like stress, anxiety, technology, caffeine, and more. And yet, we forget about one of the things that most of all influences our sleeping experience: the temperature in our bedroom.
Our body does a great job at regulating our temperature, as the hypothalamus (part of the brain that cares for multiple functions, including adapting our temperature) increases your body’s temperature from 98.6 degrees to about 100.4 degrees at the time we wake up. That’s to keep us energized and ready to face the day!
When we get closer to our bedtime, instead, our bodies get colder which helps us comfortably fall into a deep sleep. If this is the case, then we have to wonder: why do we rely so much on jacking up the thermostat in winter and the air con in the summer?
If you’ve ever woken up all sweaty and warm, it was probably because the high temperature in the bedroom was interfering with your body’s natural way to regulate your temperature, which mirrors our circadian relationship with the sun. The natural way for us to sleep is in the cold!
According to research, we sleep better in a room that has 65°F (18°C) degrees, not too cold but also not too warm either, as people who were too warm at night have shown higher levels of cortisol in the mornings. This doesn’t just help our health, it also helps the planet as we save energy from being needlessly consumed. In fact, it’s so important that we have created a free newsletter intended to help you become a cool sleeper in a sustainable way over just 7 days - you can sign up for it here.
Here are a few things you can try over winter and summer to stay cool and comfortable every night, in a completely sustainable way:
Change your mattress and bedding - Where we sleep can also be affecting our sleeping experience. Plant-based foam mattresses and latex mattresses are really breathable and don’t trap the heat like others. For bedding, choose one made from materials like pure bamboo or lyocell eucalyptus instead of cotton, as these wick heat and moisture away from you.
Exercise at the right time - Yes, exercising before bed can help you sleep better, however it’s important to get the timing right. If you do it just before jumping in bed, your body will be too warm to be comfortable. The best time to exercise in the evening is from 5pm to 7pm, or either way at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
Take a warm bath before bed - A great trick to warm up in the winter but not interfere with our sleep cycle is to take a warm bath an hour before you go to bed. This relaxing activity will get you cozy but also allow you to cool down as soon as you get out of the bath. You can even just use a warm cloth to warm up if you can’t or don’t want to take a bath.
Try these steps and give a break to your thermostat to become a natural sleeper, exactly like mother nature intended us to be.