Health Benefits Of Sleeping In The Cold

Everyone has their own preferred environment for a good night’s sleep. Some people need complete darkness and silence while others can doze off easily with the TV blaring. But one thing we all have in common is the desire to get a good and restful night of sleep.

So it may surprise some sleepyheads to know that curling up by the fire isn’t exactly the best for your body. In fact, there are proven health benefits to sleeping in cooler temperatures that’ll have you running to turn down the thermostat.

1. You’ll look your best: The deeper your slumber, the more melatonin you’ll produce. Not only does melatonin help you get restful sleep, but it’s your body’s natural anti-aging compound, which means that you can stay youthful forever… or something like that.

So, how does that work? When you sleep in warmer temperatures, the hot air can dehydrate you, which wrinkles your skin and clogs your pores. Cooler temps, however, can help close pores and restore moisture to your skin.

2. It can help you manage your weight: Who doesn’t want to lose weight without going to the gym? Studies have shown that exposing yourself to cooler temperatures can help raise your metabolism. But how?

Despite not moving much, your body actually burns calories while you sleep—so go ahead and snooze with the A/C on and let your body do the rest. It’s the only form of exercise that you can do without being awake!

3. It regulates body temperature: Staying under the covers with your head exposed is the healthiest way to sleep. While the rest of your body stays warm, your head will remain cool, ensuring that you remain at an overall consistent temperature.

Definitely don’t hide your head under the blankets! If you want to try sleeping in a colder room, but you dread catching a chill while you rest, you can bundle up the rest of your body as much as you want. Just keep your head exposed.

4. It can lead to better physical and mental health: Getting a good’s night sleep—in cool air—is the cornerstone of keeping your body and your mind healthy and energized for the day ahead. And sleeping in the cool can prevent a few key diseases.

Sleep studies have shown that symptoms of diseases, such as sleep apnea and fibromyalgia, may decrease when sleeping in cooler temperatures. It’s just another reason to tap that thermostat.

Wikimedia Commons

5. You’ll just flat-out sleep better: Your body’s temperature naturally decreases after you fall asleep. This is why it’s common to feel cold when you wake up in the middle of the night, even when it’s summertime. By lowering the temperature in your room, you’re encouraging those Zs!

If you’re sleeping in a cooler room, your body temperature will drop more quickly. This sends you to super-efficient REM sleep faster instead of wasting time just waiting for sleep to come to you.

Unfortunately, sometimes sleeping in cooler temperatures isn’t always as easy as getting up and punching a couple of buttons on the air conditioner. Some folks don’t even own air conditioners! If that’s you, these tips can help you stay cool…

6. Sleep with fewer clothes on: This one’s kind of a no-brainer; removing your clothes should let your skin cool off more, right? But you don’t necessarily have to sleep completely in the nude! Try just removing your pants.

If you wear a sweatshirt to bed, change into a simple T-shirt instead. It’s all about removing layers and finding what works best for you. Sleeping in lightweight all-natural fabrics, like cotton, will enable your body to breathe as you sleep, keeping you from overheating.

7. Stick your feet out of your covers: Sure, you’ll have to untuck your blanket, but that may be the easiest fix ever! It might seem like a silly thing to try, but it can make all difference when it comes to cooling down.

If you find yourself feeling too cold with your bare feet exposed on the bottom of your bed, you could always try keeping them beneath the sheet. Just make sure your comforter isn’t covering them.

8. Turn on a fan: Even those without access to air conditioning probably have a fan lying around. If not, they’re easy to find in local hardware stores! Usually even the largest fans are pretty affordable, and there’s nothing quite like feeling that cool breeze on your skin.

The great thing about fans is that, while they don’t lower the temperature of the air, they can dry sweat as it cools on your body. This in turn can help lower your core temperature just enough to see results.

Get the temperature just right. Studies have shown that there is actually a near-perfect temperature to sleep in that will prevent you from becoming too blazing hot or freezing cold. So, what is it?

Believe it or not, the ideal temperature falls between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a thermostat in your home, make sure you check that it’s set at an optimal temperature before you hit the hay.

At the end of the day, a good night’s sleep is essential to keeping you healthy and ready to tackle the challenges that each day brings. Trying to sleep in cooler temperatures could be the key to improving your health, but of course, the first step is falling asleep. And we have some tips to help with that too.

Turn down the lights in your room: You might prefer keeping a lamp on, but bright lights trick your brain into thinking it’s the wrong time of the day. Spend enough time in a dark room, and your body will start to get sleepy.

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Put down the phone: Your phone also exposes you to blue light, which can confuse your brain and keep it awake when you want to go to sleep. Your TV and tablet do the same. If you have to use them, use them until only an hour before bedtime.

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Cut the caffeine: Cutting back on coffee sounds like a no-brainer. However, even if you aren’t drinking coffee before bedtime, the residual effects of caffeine can still alter the melatonin levels in your brain.

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Cut back on alcohol at night: No matter how much you drink, imbibing liquor at night will decrease the quality of your sleep, lengthen the time it takes to get to sleep and increase the chances of sleep apnea.

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Share wisely: Make sure you’re sharing the bed with someone you want to wake up to in the morning! If you’re sharing the bed with someone that makes you happy, you’ll sleep better. If you don’t… well, good luck.

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Get yourself a good bedtime routine: We all know that going to sleep at different hours each night can throw off your circadian rhythms. If you go to sleep at the same time every night, you’re bound to have an easier time sleeping.

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Keep your hands and feet warm: Heat escapes our limbs quickly. If you have a warm water bottle against your hands or feet — or a nice pair of socks — you’ll likely fall asleep a lot faster.

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Try to stay awake: No, seriously! During one study, when subjects actively tried to stay awake, it improved the time they fell asleep. Fighting sleep is a battle you won’t win.

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Draw yourself a nice, warm bath: The water will open your pores and relax your muscles, putting you in a much more laid-back mindset. Afterward, you’ll find yourself falling into a solemn slumber.

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Find inner peace: Sure, this is much easier said than done, but if you have thoughts racing through your head that won’t leave you alone, find a way to ignore them and look inward to a calm place that blocks out the noise.

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Listen to classical music: This will actually help you relax and improve the quality of your sleep. The brain will continue to listen even after you’re snoozing. If you have a certain type of music that calms you down, that will work, too.

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Light a candle: Lavender scents are known to help with deep sleep, and they’re wonderful to wake up to, according to several studies. Any time you stimulate your senses in a positive way, your body will naturally relax.

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Discover what works for you: If, say, wiggling your big toes and counting backward from one thousand gets you to sleep, don’t be afraid to try it. It may take some trial and error, but find what makes you sleepy and stick with it!

sleep-better-13Flickr/Laurenbeth93

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