We’ve all been there: You’re sharing a room with a friend or significant other, it’s time to call it a night, and one of the two of you walks directly over to the thermostat before getting horizontal—which prompts a little bickering. I’m a keep-things-cold kind of sleeper myself, and I may be on to something: It turns out there’s plenty of scientific justification to preferring colder sleep. Our body temperature naturally decreases at night, which signals for our bodies to increase melatonin production—a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
“We need melatonin to feel sleepy,” explains Whitney Roban, Ph.D. and advisory board member for the American Sleep Association. “A cool room will help cool the body so that our body temperature drops quicker and our melatonin production increases.”
But how cool are we talking here? Roban says the sweet spot is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only will hovering in the mid-60s help you produce that ever-important melatonin, but it will also ensure that you experience all the essential sleep cycles, including the crucial deep, slow-wave sleep.
“Our bodies need to be cool to enter into this stage of sleep,” says Roban. “Sleeping in a cold room will help not only with the time it takes to fall asleep, but also with deep sleep so that we wake feeling rested.” Ever wake up in the middle of the night feeling super warm? She says that’s a good indication that you’re not keeping things cool enough to get into the deep-sleep zone.
Of course, room temperature is just one piece of the equation for better sleep. Just ask the team behind Equinox Hotels, who consulted with sleep psychologist Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., when they developed the conditions inside their New York City outpost. “Dark, quiet, and cool have the greatest effect on sleep,” says Matt Delaney, national manager of innovation at Equinox.
Delaney says the company put a ton of research and work into their guests’ sleep experience, from blackout blinds and soundproofing to making the beds up Scandinavian-style, using two separate duvets to support temperature regulation.
A big part of this is simply keeping the rooms cold. “Each guest room at the hotel is automatically set to 66 degrees upon check-in, and they revert back at the touch of a button with the ‘Dark Quiet Cool’ feature on the bedside tablet,” he says.
I need this tablet on my bedside table—but this does not seem feasible in my walk-up apartment. The question arises: How do we achieve this Goldilocks scenario without gobs of specialty technology? The good news is that it’s possible. Here, Roban offers up her four stay-cool strategies for better sleep:
1. Sleep on smarter stuff: From your mattress to your sheets, there are products that are specifically made to keep your temperature cool. The Buffy Breeze comforter was especially designed to ensure cold sleep. To take things to the next level, the BedJet will actually cool your mattress—and it has two zones, in case you and your partner can’t agree on what counts as “cool.”
2. Be smart about your sleep fit: Wear breathable fabrics, like cotton, to bed—or skip the clothes altogether to stay cool. Dare to bare, and you could even benefit from a self-esteem boost and more positive feelings toward your body image.
3. Pick the right accessories: Everything from the curtains you hang on the wall to the fan you have over your bed can make a major difference in room temperature. Bonus: By keeping your shades drawn during the daytime as well, you’ll help keep the room at a lower temperature, especially during the summer months.
4. Stay hydrated: You know how your face gets super tomato-like when you work out? That’s because your body is trying to cool you down by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface—which promotes more blood flow and releases heat into the air. When you’re dehydrated, this process is slowed down. Drinking the right amount of fluids can help you keep your cool—and the side effect of clearer skin doesn’t hurt, either.
The original article can be found here: https://www.gq.com/story/cool-sleep-is-deep-sleep