What You Need to Know About Body Temperature and Sleep

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

If you are an insomniac, one thing that you may not have paid much attention to is the correlation between your body temperature and sleep. You also may not have been aware that the temperature in your sleeping area impacts both your body temperature and your sleep.

If your room is too hot _, too cold, or it fluctuates throughout the night, your sleep can suffer. t is known that cooler temperatures enhance sleep. If you have to choose between being too hot or too cold, go with being a bit cold. You can always add blankets to your bed. There are many blankets available in the marketplace today that will keep you warm that are not overly heavy or cumbersome.

Ideally, you want to sleep in an environment where the temperature is comfortable. Not too hot, not too cold, but just a touch on the cool side. Either extreme of hot or cold can impact your sleep and keep you from comfortably resting.

When temperatures are too extreme in one direction, it is generally obvious. However, fluctuating temperatures can easily disturb your sleep as well. You may go to bed feeling chilly only to wake up sweating and kicking off the covers.

Seesawing temperatures in your sleeping environment is just as bad as it being too hot or too cold.

Oftentimes, the problem of a room being too hot, too cold, or fluctuating between both, is either a faulty thermostat or the thermostat is in the wrong location. If you think your thermostat is faulty, have it checked. If it is not faulty, its location is probably to blame.

Most thermostats are placed in areas of the home where they are easily accessible by everyone, such as a drafty hallway or a main room that takes longer to heat and cool. Moving a thermostat to a new location can alleviate this problem. If you don’t want to get into that kind of job, try opening and/or closing vents throughout the home to see if that helps moderate the temperature. You can also purchase a portable heater or air conditioner for your room if everyone else in the home is comfortable but you.

Sometimes it isn’t your home’s thermostat that is causing the problem; it is your internal thermostat that's the issue.

Whether you're a hot-natured person or a cold-natured person, you should cater to that so sleep comes easier.

  • If you are hot natured, take a bath before bed in warm to tepid water. Your body temperature will drop after your bath and help induce sleep.

  • If you are a cold nature person, wear socks to bed. This will work to keep your body temperature up. Also, invest in bedding and sleepwear that keeps you warm.

  • Other things you can do to keep your body temperature regulated and accommodating for sleep is to avoid exercise too soon before bed. While exercise is good for sleep, doing so too late in the day can raise your body temperature and make sleep difficult to achieve.

Additionally, if you think your room is too dry and you wake up with a dry nose and throat, invest in a humidifier to keep the air moist and cool. If your room is too humid, invest in a dehumidifier. No one likes to wake up feeling sweaty like they are sleeping in a steam room!

Bottom line:

Having issues with falling sleep or staying asleep may be a direct result of the temperature of your sleeping environment. Even your own body temperature impacts the way you sleep. If you suspect this may be the cause, investigate and do what you can to ensure your sleeping area temperature is as comfortable and accommodating to sleep as possible.

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Land’s free sleep training for insomnia. His course will teach you how to fall asleep and stay asleep. Over 3,000 insomniacs have completed his course and 96 percent of graduates say they would recommend it to a friend.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.