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How a Cool Bedroom Can Make for a Better Sleep

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A lower body temperature can help you fall—and stay—asleep.

couple sleeping

Sleep can be frustratingly hard to come by, even if you do everything right. Maybe you turn off your phone an hour before you hit the lights. Maybe you do some deep breathing, take melatonin, and read a not-so-suspenseful novel before you call it a night. But being that proactive won’t go very far if you’re not adjusting your thermostat accordingly, too. A cool environment is essential for a good night’s sleep (blame biology), and even going one or two degrees beyond your ideal temperature can keep you tossing and turning, according to certified sleep coach and Sleeptastic Solutions founder Ronee Welch.

“For adults, it’s between 65 and 68 [degrees], she says. (The National Sleep Foundation recommends going even lower, between 60 and 67 degrees.) A little trial-and-error in getting to your best temperature is expected, since your unique sleep temperature can vary. “For some people, they’re sleeping with windows open in the winter, and others are under four blankets,” Welch explains. “So finding your temperature is the biggest thing. Once you’ve figured that out, here are some ways to keep cool:

Take a Warm Shower or Bath

As we wind down for the day, our body prepares for bedtime, too. “Our body temperature drops as the evening goes on, which makes it more conducive to sleep well,” Welch says. But body temperature is pretty easy to manipulate, which explains why the age-old advice to take a warm bath before bed holds water. A study published in Sleep found that immersion in a warm bath within four hours of bedtime can help you fall asleep faster and foster a deeper sleep. Why that happens: The warmth artificially increases your body temperature. Once you’re out of the tub or shower, your body temperature then falls to normal. This rapid drop in temperature, in mimicking what naturally happens at the end of the day, can make you sleepy.

Opt for Cotton Pajamas

Those satin pajamas, soft as they may be, might not be doing you any favors. Cotton is always good. It’s breathable,” Welch says. Polyesters usually are okay, too. Basically, keep your fabrics light and loose to allow for the greatest amount of comfort. The same goes for your sheets. Silk sheets tend to stay cool for a longer period of time, she notes, whereas a heavy fabric like flannel should be a no-go unless your bedroom is already very cold (learn more about bed linens here).

Turn on the Fan

You can always open the window to get your bedroom to your ideal temperature. But if it’s not exactly breezy outside, a fan can be helpful. Particularly in the summer months, it’ll help you to be less restless,” Welch says. Not only does it immediately cool skin, which can bring down your body temperature, but it can also increase air circulation and lend white noise, which could also help you stay asleep.

Invest in Separate Blankets

Since ideal sleep temperatures can vary person to person, yours might not match those of your bed partner. Unless women are pregnant or menopausal, which could cause them to run hot, they typically are cooler than men, Welch explains. If you have separate blankets, that won’t be a problem. That way, you can opt for a sheet and a comforter, whereas if your partner kicks their comforter off in the night, it won’t wake you by pulling on yours.