According to the Sleep Foundation, the best temperature for sleeping is 65° F., give or take a
couple of degrees depending on the individual. That can cause considerable debate and
dissension among sleep partners.
The body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep is dependent on a variety of environmental
factors. The impact of heat or cold can be felt by some more keenly than others.
Men vs Women
Men have more muscle mass than women. Muscle produces more heat, resulting in a higher
core body temperature. Women typically have a body fat level of 6 to 11 percent that acts as
insulation. It keeps the core warm, while blocking as much heat transference to the outer skin
Those that tend to have chronically warm feet may be at a higher risk for sleep-onset insomnia
due to a disruption in the body’s automatic cooling system.
The environmental temperature plays a critical role in the ability for adults to fall asleep and
stay asleep. The body’s temperature dips slightly during slumber and sends core body heat
outward. Turning down the thermostat at night can help prepare the body for sleep.
A bedroom that’s too warm results in restless sleep and disruption to the body’s circadian
rhythm. Temperatures that are too warm interrupts rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that’s
essential for maintaining mental health. Bedrooms that are too cold have the same effect and
makes it more difficult to fall asleep
Babies and Toddlers
The Sleep Foundation recommends keeping nurseries and toddler bedrooms a couple of
degrees warmer, up to 69° F. Their bodies are smaller and more sensitive to changes in
temperature. Some studies suggest that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) may be
connected with sleep temperatures. Sleeping on the stomach can increase heat loss. The body
can overheat as it attempts to compensate for that loss and affect cardiac function.
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