When it’s time for bed, some of us like to dive into a sea of pillows and blankets. Others go more minimalist–a pillow and comforter, or maybe even just a sheet. When it comes to catching z’s, you might think that personal comfort is the only rule.
But could there actually be a wrong way to snooze? Or a healthier way to get some shut-eye? Before you get snug as a bug in a rug again, you might want to brush up on some of the latest research on sleep health.
We know that getting enough sleep is important. What you may not know is that the temperature of your bedroom plays a major role in the quality of your sleep and your overall health. Scientific studies by sleep researchers show that sleeping in a cool (but not frigid) room is most beneficial. Here are 4 specific benefits to this technique:
Body temperatures go through natural cycles every 24 hours. Your temperature will peak in the late afternoon, but begin to dip when it’s time to sleep. Your body reaches its lowest temperature in the depths of sleep, just before morning.
This suggests that a cooler room will help you fall asleep faster, by helping your body adjust to its natural cycle more easily. You can also expect to get more uninterrupted sleep, since your body won’t be fighting to cool itself down throughout the night.
A More Youthful Look
When the room you sleep in is too warm, your body will reduce its production of the hormone melatonin. One of the things melatonin does is slow the effects of aging. So, keep the temperature down, and your body will keep producing melatonin — and you’ll look young and refreshed each morning!
When your temperature drops at night, your body reduces its production of another hormone, cortisol. Unlike the drop in melatonin production, you want this to happen. That’s because cortisol is known as the “stress” hormone, and having too much of it is connected to weight gain.
Cool temperatures also help your body make “brown fat.” Normal “white fat” stores energy, and an excess of it can cause obesity, diabetes, and other problems. Brown fat, however, actually burns energy to keep your body warm when the temperature drops. Keep the thermostat low, and you’ll stimulate your body to produce brown fat, which ultimately can help your weight stay down.
Lower Risk of Diabetes
Besides increasing brown fat, lower temperatures during your sleep cycles also help your body regulate its insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that controls your blood sugar, and keeping it from spiking or dipping too low means a reduced risk of diabetes.