By Oktay Ozadam
Do you know how many benefits there are to sleeping in a cold room? The Numerous effects of sleeping in cooler environment aren't just short term. As stated by Dr. Christopher Winter, keeping the room between 60 and 67-degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 to 19.4 Celsius) will help you sleep better, and have health benefits. Getting more sleep is the goal of most people, and the health benefits in that alone are worth looking at, but the act has even more!
What are the benefits?
Is sleeping in a cold room good for your health? One cannot simply say there are benefits without going into them, can they? There are so many small benefits that aren't sleep-related. They will likely surprise you.
Falling Asleep Faster
Have you noticed that when a classroom or your office is cold, you tend to want to fall asleep? Me too, and I always felt guilty, but it turns out there is some science behind that. Before your body descends into sleep, your core temperature must lower by one-degree Fahrenheit (.9 degrees Celsius).
It gives your brain a chance to slow down and notice, "now we must sleep" instead of torturing you about that thing that happened five years ago. A cold room can help lower your body temperature, so you quickly fall asleep and stay asleep.
Not all benefits are entirely related to sleeping better. Many spills into daily life as well, a great example being your metabolism.
In a study done by the Garvin institute of medical research, it was found that brown fat increased between 30 and 40 percent when the temperature was lowered for sleeping.
The term "fat" may make you stop, but brown fat contributes to weight loss rather than weight gain. White fat is the common culprit of obesity.
Brown fat is quickly converted to energy allowing you to burn both types of fat as fuel.
Increase Melatonin Levels
Do you ever notice that you feel more awake in a hot room than a cold one? There is some fascinating science behind this. When it's cold, your body will start to produce melatonin, which is the primary brain chemical responsible for sleep.
If a brain cannot produce melatonin, then we wouldn't feel tired. Though this sounds good in the short term, in the long run, your brain will start to deteriorate and could be fatal if the case is severe.
That may sound scary, but trust me, it takes a long time to get there. If you want to learn a bit more about how sleeping in a hot room affects your brain, check out this article.
Melatonin is responsible for more than just sleep. Though that is its primary function, this hormone also controls aging (or lack thereof). It has the overall effect of slowing the aging process, but sleeping in a hot room decreases its production. Temperatures below 70 degrees, however, can increase melatonin levels enough to slow the aging process.
We all know the feeling after a terrible night's sleep. We become a zombie, surviving only on coffee, and being a menace to those around us. Poor sleep naturally increases the levels of stress and anxiety.
Because the body needs to drop its core temperature, a cold room naturally makes sleep easier, and the more rest you get, the more your stress levels will drop!
Enables Sleep-Through the Night!
It's finally nighttime. Your crawling into bed after a long day, ready to get some rest. You fall asleep in minutes…only to wake a few hours later sweaty and burning up. As mentioned earlier, your body temperature needs to drop by one degree for you to fall asleep and to stay asleep, your body must remain at that temperature. If it rises, your body will wake up, and your mind along with it. A cold room will enable your body to stay at the right temperature so that you can remain asleep.
Taking care of your stress levels is another benefit to getting more sleep. Our everyday life is stressful. There's our work life, family life, school life, and often more to put together. With each little project, we feel as if we can't take on any more. The little things make it hard to sleep at night as they play on a loop in your head. Sleep is already a difficult task without all these stressors running around, right? Well, turning the AC up just a bit will let your mind quiet down so you can finally get that well-deserved rest!
A correlation has been drawn with insomnia and weight gain. Those who get less sleep seem to gain more weight. While medical professionals seemed to agree on this, there is one thing everyone is debating. Does lack of sleep directly cause this, or does lack of sleep drive us to unhealthy behaviors (like getting a third latte at Starbucks)? While this debate is still ongoing, a new study shows that the way we sleep does have an impact on our weight. Sleeping in chilled rooms boosts the metabolism by increasing brown fat, which leads to further weight loss!
Two types of insomnia, sleep onset insomnia, and early awakening insomnia, often correlates with sleeping in a hot room. Sleep onset insomnia (inability to fall asleep) is very often linked to a failure to get cool during the night. Early awakening insomnia is related to the problem a little differently. The body does get cold, but it's unable to stay there, resulting in the body waking up much earlier than it needs to (and not just by a few minutes). For those whose insomnia occurred along with hot flashes and sweaty nights, they found that a cooler temperature worked in their favor and let them fall asleep and stay asleep.
Prevent Infections in Females
If you're a guy, you can skip this part, but if you're a girl, read further. Yeast infections are extremely annoying, and the treatment for them is messy. A warm, moist environment is the perfect place for bacteria to spawn and multiply. A cold room gives less of an opportunity for this to happen. Yeast infections are painful and annoying, but they are more preventable than many believe.
Decrease the likelihood of Metabolic disease
So many factors go into a health condition. While some disorders appear out of thin air with no known cause, others have well-documented sources and risks. One of those is type two diabetes. Obesity and an underactive metabolism are some of the main factors. Sleeping in a cold room can influence both of those things. The cold naturally boost brown fat which is a sign of a healthier metabolism and is an active component in losing weight. It will also have some decreasing effect on other metabolic diseases like heart disease.
How to Cool Down- Without Bumping Up the AC
Electricity is expensive, and AC is often a massive contributor to this bill. Luckily, there are other options. Listed below are a few. If they don't help you, this article has an even longer list of tips to help you keep cool while sleeping.
This idea may seem uncomfortable to some, but in terms of cooling down to sleep, it is immensely helpful. The extra fabric is its own insulator and won't be very helpful when you're trying to sleep.
A fan may not be a perfect replacement to your AC, but they have their own important task. A fan can cool the air to some extent and keep it circulating around the room.
Warm, electric blankets are a popular thing, but they can be bad for sleep. On the bright side, there are different comforter materials designed for hot sleepers aimed at cooling you down. I list a couple of options that you may want to look into:
- Sheets that keep your body cool
- Cooling blankets for night sweats and hot flashes
- If you like down products, check out the best down comforters for hot sleepers
Take a cold shower
Your shower doesn't have to be icy cold, but taking a cooler shower will jumpstart your body's cooling process so you can get to sleep faster!
Opening the windows
This may not work as well in the summer, but during the colder months having the windows open is a natural AC.
Where there are thermal blankets, there are thermal pillows. Using a cooling pillow to keep your head cool will help you stay asleep.
More Smart Options
Do these solutions work for you? They are helpful to some, but everyone in the world is unique. If you are looking for a more high-tech solution, try a bed cooling system. chiliPAD bed cooler, Bedjet climate control system, and Ooler Sleep System are all specially designed sleep systems to cool your bed so you can fall asleep!
Each gadget uses either water or air based bed cooling technology to cool you down. Beyond that, they each have their own unique features to set them apart.
The importance of sleep can never be overstated. The average, healthy person will spend about a third of their life in slumber. In the modern age, insomnia diagnoses are on the rise, and doctors are quick to point to a source. But placing blame doesn't fix the problem, the only action will. Hot, stuffy rooms may not be the only source, but they are a prevalent and often overlooked phenomenon. If you are a hot sleeper, sleeping cool may not fix every single problem in your life, but it can give you the energy you need to do it yourself.