Most sleep researchers believe that an environment conducive to sleep includes a comfortable mattress and pillow, clean surroundings and a cool, comfortable place to sleep. When combining these factors with the body’s natural tendency to cool down, restful sleep is easily managed.
Humans sleep best in their “thermal comfort zone”, a temperature range that prevents the body from exerting energy on shivering or sweating. 2 The thermal comfort zone is thought to be between 54 degrees 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 3 When the body’s core temperature of 98.6 degrees fluctuates just 6 degrees up or down, the body is subject to fever or shivering. 4
This temperature range may seem pretty extreme, but its application is for all different people. For instance, you and your bed partner may differ on what you feel the most comfortable temperature is, which will make compensating for each person’s optimal comfort more difficult. Weight amongst other factors can affect the temperature that best suits an individual’s sleeping state.
Many aspects can affect room and body temperature including air conditioning and heating, mattress type, sleep clothing and choice in bedding. The correct combination of these aspects will help give you the most restful sleep possible.
Your body is prompted to enter REM sleep once your body reaches its lowest temperature. Body temperature must drop 0.5 degrees Celsius to enter REM sleep. 4 This needed drop in temperature is why some find it more difficult to fall asleep in warm summer months.
It is suggested that turning the heat down at bedtime in the winter and turning the air conditioning up slightly in summer months will help induce sleep. The correct mattress can completely change your level of comfort at night. Consider purchasing a mattress with cooling gel or heat regulation technology. Also, sleeping in pajamas that do not lock heat in and are not too thick can help with temperature regulation as well as comfort. Another way to regulate temperature during the night is through the correct bedding. Sleeping with extremely thick blankets and sheets that do not breathe can cause you to overheat at night.
Outlast® material was originally created to prevent astronauts from overheating in space in temperatures up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. 1 Hopefully you will not encounter such temperatures in your bed. The technology behind Outlast® was awarded with the “Certified Space Technology” seal of approval in 1991 from the Space Foundation. It has been improving upon temperature regulating technology for more than 20 years.
The microfibers imbedded into mattress covers, sheets, blanks and pillow cases will assist in regulating body temperature. This is done by taking in body heat, storing it and then releasing it when your body cools down. This process keeps the body at the optimal temperature for restful, undisturbed sleep.
Sleeping in temperatures that are too hot will cause fragmented and restless sleep. When teamed with other sleep disorders, a hot sleep environment can be detrimental to getting a good night’s sleep.
Through the use of Outlast® bedding and other environmental adjustments, it is very easy to achieve a restful night’s sleep.
1. The New York Times—The Claim: Cold Temperatures Improve Sleep; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/health/04real.html
2. Carskadon, Mary A. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1993.