A Good Night’s Sleep - What’s the Best AC Temperature for Your Body?

What is the Best Air Conditioning Temperature for Sleeping?

Have you ever wondered what the best AC temperature is for you to sleep in? We've heard from plenty of people who have, so in this article, we'll be taking a look at certain aspects of using an air conditioner while you sleep. We will talk about the ideal temperature setting for hot (but also cold) nights.

Does Body Temperature Affect Sleep?

You might be asking yourself why the room temperature should play a significant role in your sleep cycle. After all, you can just get a blanket if you're cold or sleep without one if you're too hot.

But the truth is a little more complicated than that. You see, the more layers you have on yourself (e.g., pajamas, blankets, etc.), the more stressful that is for the body. So that's why you want to find the optimal room temperature to sleep in, so as to eliminate the need for extra layers.

The room temperature that you sleep in plays a major role in the quality of your rest. Over the years, several studies have sought to monitor the curves in body temperature as you sleep and found that, as a general rule, the human body drops a couple of degrees during the early hours of the morning. This temperature drop is its normal cycle, but in order for it to work properly, the room temperature needs to be at a certain setting.

Exposure to colder or hotter temperatures has been shown to disrupt sleep, increase wakefulness, and deter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Now, as you probably already know, it's not helpful if you awake easily because that usually indicated you are not getting proper rest. It's also unhelpful if your body is unable to go into REM sleep, as that is a deeper and more restful state of sleep.

Your circadian rhythm is in charge of these different phases of sleep. When exposed to various adverse external elements, such as increased humidity, too hot or too cold temperatures, it cannot function properly. Disruptions in your circadian cycle can lead to insomnia, or improper rest (or the lack of deep sleep), which usually means that you wake up even more tired in the morning.

What Is the Best Room Temperature For Getting A Good Night's Rest?

Interestingly enough, a poll from the National Sleep Foundation found that most people's ideal room temperature was a little bit on the cold side. Indeed, the large majority of participants indicated that they prefer a room temperature or thermostat setting of around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15.6 to 19.4 Celsius).

This may come as a shock to some, as many people retain this impression that we need the room to be warm and cozy to get some proper rest. That may actually prove detrimental to your sleeping rhythm in the long term.

Why is that?

The poll concluded that the ideal room temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18.3 Celsius). Now, that's a little colder than the generally preferred temperatures from over the day. This is because, for most of us, our bodies tend to naturally decrease temperature as we get ready for bed. That is to say that there is a link in our brains between colder temperatures and sleep.

This is why when the thermostat is set a little bit lower, our body understands it's bedtime now, and our brain starts to produce melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm, and that helps us get adequate rest.

What is Circadian rhythm?

A lower room temperature also helps our body regulate its own temperature. Naturally, the temperature in the world around us impacts our body's natural ability to regulate temperature. If you've ever been in an excessively hot setting, you will have noticed it's difficult for your body to keep cool. And vice-versa. Since our body needs to tone its temperature down a bit to provide us with satisfying rest, its job is made easier if the room is also a bit cooler.

How Can Your AC Help You Sleep At Night?

Since the human body prefers a sleeping temperature that's a bit cooler, winters aren't usually a problem. As long as you have a programmable thermostat that perhaps you are using to keep warm during the cold months, you can simply tone that down a bit, and you should be in for a good night's sleep.

In the summertime, however, things get a little bit trickier. Once again, you can take advantage of a smart thermostat, to automatically regulate the room temperature during nighttime.

Failing that, a lot of people turn to their old-school air conditioners to keep them cool during those hot summer nights. But that comes with a few problems of its own.

One of these problems is – how safe it is to sleep with an AC on at night? Depending on your AC system, it may very well not be. And even if it is, there are several disadvantages to using an AC to keep cool at night.

Yes, it may help your body achieve the required temperature more quickly, but it also comes with its own set of downsides, such as:

  • Increased dryness - a common side effect of AC overuse is that the air in the room gets overly dry, which can lead to breathing problems, thirst, as well as premature aging, and dehydration of the skin;
  • Dirt - most ACs run on filters that need to be regularly cleaned, to prevent the spread of germs, dust, and bacteria into your home. Otherwise, this encourages various allergic reactions, as well as the growth of fungi and bacteria;
  • Lack of fresh air - our bodies require fresh air to function correctly. If we are deprived of fresh air for a long enough period (all night every night for the entire summer, for example), this can lead to a condition of sickness, where we feel fatigued and exhausted all the time.
  • Noise - this is a problem, particularly with older AC systems that tend to make quite a bit of noise while running, which in turn can prevent you from getting proper rest.
  • Some pretty hefty energy bills - using the AC are unfortunately very costly, and while one night of use might not make a dent in your finances, using it for three months straight might.

So while it is no doubt possible to use an air conditioner to cool your room while you sleep, it's probably inadvisable because of the reasons outlined above.

Pro Tip: You might try using a portable air conditioner, explicitly aimed at your sleeping area. This will not cost as much energy, and will also combat some of the other issues from above (such as excessive dryness and dirty filters). A portable air conditioner or fan can be useful, because it will cool just the area that needs cooling (e.g., your bed) and won't affect the rest of the room unnecessarily.

How to Sleep Cool Without Air Conditioning?

The AC used to be the only way to keep your home cool, but luckily for you, that's no longer the case. Now, you're able to choose from a wide range of bed cooling systems that can aid you in the hot summer months.

You may opt for a mattress that was designed especially for keeping cool. Through using various materials, such as latex or inner springs, it may achieve that or may even be topped with a cooling gel (there's a wide selection of cooling gel memory foam mattresses available).

Alternatively, you might also opt for a cooling pillow, such as Moona. You program this pillow through an app on your phone, and it delivers the optimal sleeping temperature to your head area (thus helping the rest of the body stay cool also).

Lastly, a similar device is the bed cooling system, such as the chiliPAD, which is literally a mattress pad that can be programmed through an app to deliver your ideal sleeping temperature as you sleep.

Another interesting cooling technology is the Bedjet, which acts like a cooling fan that sits at the base of your bed and sends cooling air strictly under your blanket. This helps cut down on energy bills and avoid the various downsides of using an AC.

What's the takeaway?

So, to sum it all up, the ideal body temperature for sleeping is around 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, or between 15 and 19 C (usually around 65 F/18 C). You have a range of choices for how you achieve that temperature, but all in all, using a traditional air conditioner might not be the best idea.

You might consider a more advanced, smart thermostat, or a specially designed bed cooling system of your choice to help you achieve that temperature.

Remember, your body needs a slightly cooler temperature to get proper rest, so don't overlook the importance of this!