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What is Ideal Sleep Temperature? Tips for Controlling Temperature at Night

6 minute read

Quality sleep is requisite for health and general well-being. From it, cognitive functioning and mood are regulated through general physical health to the strength of a person's immune system. Poor sleep brings a host of different problems, including impaired memory with decreased concentration and increased risks for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Ensuring that one has quality sleep is essential in keeping energy and emotional balance in daily performance at its best.

One of the most significant factors in how well you sleep is the temperature in which you sleep. The concept behind an ideal sleep temperature is that it should be such that your body undergoes proper temperature regulation during sleep. This would then provide comfort, help limit wakefulness, and eventually result in deeper and more restorative sleep. Knowing and maintaining the right sleep temperature can effectively enhance one's quality of sleep and overall health.

The Temperature of Sleep Science

Temperature is among the significant regulators of the daily sleep-wake cycles. Our body's core temperature physiologically drops in the evening, which signals the signal for falling asleep. Such a drop in core temperature can, therefore, induce longer sleep by increasing the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Our body continues to lose heat at night, principally through the skin surface, to enable transitions between other stages of sleep, notably deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement sleep).

This natural process of thermoregulation can be hampered if the room temperature is too high or too low. If it is too warm, one might feel uncomfortable and might be very wakeful, with a decrease in the deep stages of sleep. If it is too cold in the bed, it leads to frequent awakenings and sleeping disturbances. One can ensure optimal sleep temperature to make the body control the temperature effectively to experience excellent and uninterruptible rest cycles.

Scientific Studies on Optimal Sleep Temperatures

Many scientific experiments have been conducted to relate ambient temperature to sleep quality. Research shows that the optimal sleeping temperature usually ranges between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15 and 19 degrees Celsius). Most people sleep best between these two extremes.

According to a study published in the journal Sleep, sleep onset is faster, and sleep efficiency is more significant at a bedroom temperature of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Another study, as highlighted in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, showed that a cooler sleep environment, like 66 degrees Fahrenheit or 19 degrees Celsius, improved the quality of sleep, particularly among older adults who are more susceptible to these changes in temperature.

All these studies indicate that a slightly cool environment might foster better sleep, as this process is natural to the body as it cools itself through the night. However, individual preferences and variations exist to determine the right temperature for sleeping.

What is the Best Sleeping Temperature?

The best sleeping temperature generally falls between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, or 15 and 19 degrees Celsius. A slightly cool environment allows the body to experience its natural drop in temperature, which induces uninterrupted sleep. A constant temperature within this range could improve the quality of sleep because the body regulates its temperature during this time.

Age- or Sex-Based and Individual Differences

Although these general guidelines given are great for getting started, the optimal sleeping temperature varies based on age, sex, and personal preference: 

  • Age: Infants and young children tend to prefer a warm room, 65–70°F (18–21°C), to stay comfortable and safe from extreme cold temperatures. Older adults may do better in a warmer environment because of some age-related changes.
  • Gender: Men and women do not have the same tendencies towards the temperature in which they prefer to sleep. Many studies have indicated that women, more so than men, prefer a warmer room. These studies basically define the difference between men and women in terms of body composition and hormonal changes.
  • Personal Choices: Comfort is a personal matter when it comes to sleeping temperature. Metabolism, health conditions, and lifestyle are a few factors that may affect the choice of temperature. It would help you rest well if you always kept a sleep environment in accordance with personal needs.

Recommended Temperature Ranges for Different Seasons

Experiencing different seasons seems to make a difference in views about the best sleeping temperature. Always keeping the thermostat at the right temperature for the time of the year helps a person remain more comfortable during their sleep:

  • Spring and Fall: An excellent sleeping temperature for both seasons falls under the overall temperature range of 60–67°F or 15–19°C. Both temperatures lie outside the extreme zones, so at this point, the outdoor temperature can easily be managed to remain within this range.
  • Summer: The hotter time of the year presents a more significant challenge. To neutralize the heat, aim for the low end of the ideal range — 60–65 degrees Fahrenheit or 15–18 degrees Celsius. This will require fans, air conditioners, and light, breathable bedding.
  • Winter: The colder it is, the more critical it is to stay warm without getting too hot. A bedroom temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit — plus or minus a degree or two — tends to be comfortable most times. Add blankets or adjust your thermostat to keep your bedroom cool and get comfortable under blankets, which helps you fall asleep more easily.

If you tend to tailor your sleeping environment according to these rules of thumb and personal preferences, you are more likely to have a comfortable and restful annual sleep.

Temperature Control Tips for Night 

Adjusting Thermostats and Heating/Cooling Systems

  • Set your thermostat to 60–67 degrees Fahrenheit or 15–19 degrees Celsius to get optimal sleeping benefits. This range facilitates the body's cooling process, thereby resulting in better sleep and more profound rest for your body.
  • Use smart AC controllers that regulate the temperatures automatically at different times of the day. They should be set to lower temperatures when one is asleep and higher when awake for maximal comfort and efficiency.

Selection of Bedding and Sleepwear

  • Select materials for bedding that are breathable and wick moisture, like cotton. The fabrics will ensure body temperatures are regulated while not agreeing to air circulation and moisture adsorption.
  • Dress up in light, breathable sleepwear, preferably those that are made of cotton or linen. Avoid heavy, synthetic fabrics that can trap heat and cause discomfort.

Using Fans and Air Conditioners

  • The fans or air conditioners help with air circulation and keep the bedroom constantly cool. They can also provide white noise, which can aid in better sleep.
  • Position fans and air conditioners for maximum comfort. Position and adjust fans and air conditioners to send excellent air circulation freely within a room. Control air conditioners to the normal sleep-recommended temperature range of 60–67 degrees Fahrenheit or 15–19 degrees Celsius with oscillating fans so as not to direct a stream of air directly onto your body. 

Humidity

  • Humidity levels play a significant role in determining the quality of sleep by altering the level of comfort in breathing and temperature regulation. The highest-level humidity indoors should be between 30% and 50%.
  • When the quantity of humidity is low, particularly in arid areas, having a humidifier will help in controlling the humidity to favorable levels. Moisture in humidifiers helps calibrate wet areas, thus chilling and making it comfortable to sleep. 

Natural ventilation

  • Natural ventilation can be used to regulate bedroom temperature and provide proper quality air. Open the windows, and the air will feel less oppressive and enhance comfort levels.
  • Open the windows in the early evening or early morning hours. This will help usher in fresh air into the room. Open the windows across the room to allow for cross ventilation.

Smart Home Devices

  • Smart AC controllers, thermostats, fans, and air conditioning systems can be controlled and programmed remotely to achieve the best sleeping temperatures. The devices offer both precision temperature management and comfort.
  • Use smart home devices to integrate into your sleep routine to automatically ensure a constant temperature. Use the schedules within the smartphone apps and tweak the settings so you can sleep comfortably every night.

More Sleep Tips

Hydrate and Eat Well

  • Keeping hydrated ensures a perfect body temperature and overall well-being. Dehydration can contribute to overheating and cause sleep disruptions.
  • Consuming foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, is good. Heavy and spicy meals at bedtime are said to raise body temperature barriers, depriving one of sleep.

Optimizing the Sleep Environment

  • A dark, quiet, and cool room reduces disturbances and supports the body's natural processes for a more restful sleep. To enhance the sleep environment, use natural light, blackout curtains, earplugs, or white noise machines.
  • Make the sleeping area accessible to electronic devices to minimize the amount of light and noise. Depending on one's preferred sleep position and temperature control, one should also invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that accommodate one's favorite snooze.

Behavioral/Medication Modifications

  • Exercise helps maintain average body temperature and, hence, sleep. However, this also implies an elevation of body temperature immediately after exercise, and such a high-intensity exercise right before sleeping can delay sleep.
  • Develop a relaxing routine before bedtime; your body should be close to the realization that it is almost sleep time. Activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing mindfulness can help lower body temperature and prepare one for sleep.

One needs to create the right temperature for sleep, for this will determine a peaceful and rejuvenating night. Appropriate information on the scientific concept behind sleep temperatures, setting up a sleep environment according to personal preferences, and advising on temperature control serve to increase the quality of sleep obtained. Proper temperature control in the setting up of your air conditioner, using the correct bedding, or even some form of gadget in smart homes will rejuvenate your wake and make it full of energy.

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