Lifestyle Ideas and Tips

Does Your HVAC Temp Affect How You Sleep?

Does your home's temperature affect how well you sleep? They say the optimal sleeping temp is 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, so it just might — learn more.

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If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time and effort making your bedroom as comfortable as you can to get a good night’s sleep. But as cozy, dark and quiet as your bedroom might be, there’s a vital factor affecting your sleep that may not be as easy to control -- the temperature in your bedroom.

Sure, you can set the thermostat to whatever temperature you want, at least in theory, but the cooler you keep your house in the summer, the more you’ll pay in energy costs. Sometimes, it’s just not cost-effective to keep your bedroom as cool as you’d like at night. But there’s a lot you can do to cool your bedroom, and your body, down to an optimal sleeping temperature.

Sleep and Your Body Temperature

Sweltering nighttime temperatures can definitely make it harder to sleep. A drop in body temperature is one of the things that signals your brain to begin producing melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Your body temperature begins to drop around the time you go to bed and continues to fall throughout the night, until it reaches its lowest point at around dawn. You might feel your hands and feet get warm as you get sleepy — that’s your body releasing heat through your extremities. 

If your bedroom is too hot or too cold, though, your body struggles to regulate its temperature while sleeping. This can interfere with your sleep. In fact, some research suggests that the temperature of your bedroom can be one of the most important factors affecting your sleep.

So what is this optimal sleep temperature, anyway? For the best quality of sleep, you’re supposed to keep your bedroom at 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. That might be fine in the winter, but in the summer, cranking your A/C up that high can get expensive. Even if you get an A/C tuneup on time every year, there’s no getting around energy costs.

Sleep Cool and Cut Energy Costs

The classic solution when it comes to sleeping cooler is to invest in a bedroom fan. There are all kinds of options, from the cheap and trusty box fan to the fancy bed fans that blow cool air under the covers. Many fans have the added benefit of producing white noise, which can help block out noises that disturb your sleep, whether it’s a snoring spouse, barking dog or a rattling A/C condenser outside the window. 

As far as fans go, though, the perfect solution may be to install a ceiling fan above your bed. Ceiling fans are relatively affordable, easy to install and can help keep heating costs down in the winter, too — just reverse the direction of the blades to push hot air down from the ceiling. Many models also have built-in light fixtures.

Another option to keep cool while sleeping is to get a cooling mattress pad. These keep you cool by distributing warmth from your body to the parts of the pad you’re not touching. Make sure you’re sleeping with breathable, 100 percent cotton or linen bedding. 

Keep your windows closed and curtains drawn during the day to keep sunlight and heat out. If it gets cool enough at night where you live, you could even try turning off the A/C at night and opening the windows. Window fans can help draw in cool air at night. 

Change Up Your Routine

Some adjustments to your nighttime routine can also help keep you cool enough to fall asleep easily. Avoid strenuous exercise for the last few hours of the evening — it can take your body a long time to cool down after a hard workout. 

Long, hot baths can have the same effect. Instead, to help your body temperature drop before bed, take a cool shower at night. It doesn’t have to be that cool — the sudden drop in temperature from getting out of the warm(ish) water will signal to your body that it’s time to start making melatonin and getting sleepy. If you don’t feel like a cool shower, you can get the same effect by drinking some ice water or eating a cold treat, like a popsicle, right before you get ready for bed.

You may also want to avoid eating a large meal for dinner, especially a hot one. Using your oven or cooktop will heat up your kitchen and force your A/C to work harder in order to cool your house back down — not to mention, it will make you feel hot. 

Of course, you’ll also want to take care to keep your A/C tuned up and in good condition. By maintaining your HVAC well, you can avoid, or at least significantly postpone, unexpected breakdowns and the large bills they bring. 

Are you tossing and turning on hot summer nights? That’s no surprise — the temperature of your bedroom can have a huge effect on how quickly you fall asleep, how well you stay asleep and how rested you feel when you get up. When you get an American Home Shield® home warranty, it can help keep your A/C running smoothly all summer with discounted tune-ups and repair coverage.

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