Sleep is necessary to live, but it can be so hard to get a good night of shut-eye sometimes. Whether you are chronically sleep-deprived or not, this one hack can make bedtime much easier.
Are you a night owl or a morning person? Is it easy for you to fall asleep? Those of us who struggle with chronic insomnia are envious. It’s so awful to want to close your peepers and drift off, but not be able to do it. Sometimes a little wine is just enough to help. But other times it’s been such a day that it’s hard to turn off your brain.
The Sleep Hack That’ll Change Your Life
In 2012, there was a study conducted examining “Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm.”
Here are some takeaways directly from the study, along with some short notes I have added.
“The thermal environment is one of the most important factors that can affect human sleep.”
In other words, the temperature in your bedroom is crucial to a good night’s rest. Incredibly important, actually.
Sleeping in a cold room can help with stress. The fall in your body temperature decreases the stress hormone.
When it’s hot, those Zzzzs can be hard to come by.
“In real-life situations where bedding and clothing are used, heat exposure increases wakefulness and decreases slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep. Humid heat exposure further increases thermal load during sleep and affects sleep stages and thermoregulation.”
In a nutshell, turn the thermostat way down.
I don’t know about you, but I can recall plenty of times I’ve tried to snooze in hot, humid conditions. It’s been my experience that it is often virtually impossible to fall asleep, much less stay asleep. Tossing, turning, sweating and swearing about it is dreadful.
On the other hand, cold exposure does not affect sleep stages.
“In real-life situations where bed covers and clothing are used, sleep is actually disturbed during heat exposure rather than cold exposure in the young as well as in the elderly.”
It’s pretty clear that sleeping in a room that’s too warm has a negative effect on how many sheep have to jump over the fence in your mind before you’re out.
Turn the temperature down.
Before you go to bed, dial back the thermostat. Even if you’re ALWAYS cold, like me, turn it down anyway. You can crawl under those covers and snuggle in. (So long as you aren’t piling on 10 blankets!)
Warning: don’t turn the temp down so low that your bedroom doubles for a frozen tundra. Being too cold can also impact slumber in a negative way. You shouldn’t shiver… unless you see a snake in a Facebook meme.
Sleep.org says it’s important to treat your bedroom like a cave. It should be quiet, cool and dark. A consistent temp of between 65 and 70 is recommended. Try several settings at night for a week to see what works well for you.
Lullaby and goodnight.
Make your bedroom colder than you’re used to and as dark as you can get it. You’ll have a much better chance of closing up shop and drifting off to dreamland.
What’s your best hack for falling and staying asleep? I’m all ears.