Everyone loves cocooning themselves in their bed covers as they drift off to sleep in a cool bedroom.
Whether you have the air conditioning on blast on a hot summer night, or the heat on low in the dead of winter, no matter what the season, a cool bedroom is always more comfortable.
However, in adjusting your AC or your heating in the evening you may have wondered at some point, “how cold is too cold for sleep?”. Furthermore, you may have wondered what the consequences of sleeping in an overly cool room might be.
In general, the suggested temperature range for best sleep is 60 degrees Fahrenheit at the lowest, according to experts1. You can certainly sleep in temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit but there are a few reasons why it might not be such a good idea.
That being said, you should certainly be aware of your room temperature before you go to bed.
Ideal temperature range for sleep
Everyone is different when it comes to preferred sleeping temperature. However, according to sleep.org, the suggested bedroom temperature for best sleep should be between 60 to 67 degrees2.
Of course, even 67 degrees is still relatively cool, so what explains our natural preference for chilled out sleeping climates?
In general, relatively low body temperature will make you drowsy and ready for sleep. On the other hand, a high body temperature, achieved through exercise, for instance, makes you feel more alert and active. In turn, at night as you try to go to sleep, your body temperature naturally drops slightly making it easier to wind down for a good nights rest.
That being said, a cool sleeping environment can actually help to lower your body temperature so that you can get to sleep more easily. Alternatively, room temperatures that are on the high side can keep you feeling awake and restless instead of cooled down and ready for rest.
In turn, if you have ever wondered why exactly you prefer a cold bedroom, just know that it isn’t some weird quirk of yours. Humans naturally like sleeping in cool environments!
Consequences of sleeping in an EXTRA cool room
Ok, so sleeping in a cool room feels more comfortable than sleeping in a warm room.
However, there are some consequences of sleeping in chilly temperatures (below around 60 degrees) that you should consider before deciding to sleep like an Eskimo.
The very real possibility of getting sick
In general, cold temperatures seem to make you more likely to catch a cold or the flu, although it’s debated why this might be.
Some research suggests that cold temperatures allow the flu virus to move more easily through the air mainly because colder temperature typically go hand in hand with lower levels of humidity. With less moisture in the air, the lack of “thickness” in the air can make it easier for flu particles to float further through the air. In turn, this may make the flu virus more easily able to reach you and make you sick3.
Some argue that cold temperature’s impact on us physiologically is primarily what makes us sick.
For instance, Medical News Today claims that breathing in a dry and cold environment can cause blood vessels in the nose to narrow to conserve heat. In turn, white blood cells might have a harder time moving throughout these blood vessels to fight off germs4.
Regardless of why exactly the cold seems to make us more likely to get sick, spending 8 hours sleeping in a super cool room could certainly make you more at risk of catching a cold
Damage to your house
Not only can you harm your own personal health by keeping your bedroom too cool, but your house can be damaged as well. This is particularly true if you keep the heat super low and allow your entire house to be relatively cold in the winter months.
The closer you let your house get to freezing temperatures, the more likely your pipes will freeze, your wood flooring will get warped or other parts of your house will get damaged.
Another possible consequence of keeping your bedroom and your house at relatively low indoor temperatures is mold growth. In the wintertime when the temperature cools down and you must keep your windows closed, humidity can build up. Through cooking, showering and other day-to-day activities, you can naturally bring a bunch of moisture into the air. However, in cold temperatures, this humidity tends to condensate. This condensation and humidity create the perfect conditions for mold to grow.
Mold can grow anywhere in the house really but it can commonly be found around your windows where there tends to be extra condensation. Alternatively, mold can grow in unseen places like inside your walls or below your floorboards. Not only can mold damage your house but this common bedroom allergen can be harmful to your health as well.
Uncomfortability and poor sleep
Aside from the possibilities of getting sick or damaging your house, at the end of the day, sleeping in a super cool room can flat out be uncomfortable.
Being nice and cozy under the covers might feel nice in a 55-degree bedroom, but getting out of bed to use the bathroom or get a drink of water can feel like making a mini trek through the arctic tundra. Even laying your arms on top of your blankets can make you chilly in a cold room.
Not only that but whether you realize it or not, a super cool room can affect your sleep quality. If you are constantly waking up in the middle of the night or have difficulty falling asleep, it’s possible that your bedroom might just be too cold. Experiment with slightly warmer sleeping temperatures for a few nights and see what this change does for your sleep quality.
In general, sleeping in temperatures above 60 degrees is recommended. However, everyone is different and if you strongly feel as though you sleep better in temperatures below 60 degrees for whatever reason, there is no one stopping you from doing so.
However, if you want to go down that road it is strongly recommended that you bundle up. Using heavy blankets and sleepwear that covers most of your body is key. The last thing you want is to wake up shivering.
- www.sleep.org, https://www.sleep.org/
- “The Ideal Temperature for Sleep” www.sleep.org, https://www.sleep.org/articles/temperature-for-sleep/
- “Cold weather really does spread flu” www.newscientist.com, https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12808-cold-weather-really-does-spread-flu/#.VGxIuzSUfp8
- “What’s the link between cold weather and the common cold?” www.medicalnewstoday.com, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323431.php