How to Use a Thermostat to Alter Your Body Temperature and Sleep Better

How to Use a Thermostat to Alter Your Body Temperature and Sleep Better [in the picture: Sleeping Dog, Possibly Warm, Possibly Not, Who's to Tell?]

Body temperature plays a role in good sleep, and at this time of year that can be difficult to get right. If it isn’t too cold, it’s blisteringly hot because the central heating is on, and even sleeping with one leg out of the covers doesn’t help (trust us).

So it wasn’t exactly a surprise to find an article on body temperature regulation, which suggests controlling the temperature in the bedroom at night to help with the snoozing.

We can do this. We have the technology.

Body Temperature and Good Sleep

According to the research cited in that article, relative warmth promotes sleep onset, but a decrease in temperature may actually help you stay asleep. Importantly, that’s a change of only one or two degrees either way to avoid getting severely ill.

This is a good summary of what the research found:

Fitting human subjects with thermosuits, the scientists were able to lower skin temperature less than a degree Centrigrade without affecting core body temperature. The changes were dramatic. People didn’t wake up as much during the night and the percentage of the sleep spent in stages 3 and 4 (deep sleep) increased. The effects were most pronounced in the elderly and in people who suffered from insomnia. A 0.4 C decrease in skin temperature caused a decline in the probability of early morning waking from 0.58 to 0.04.

We’re assuming, for this post, that you don’t have a thermosuit lying around the house. But we know where you can get hold of a decent thermostat.

Using a Thermostat to Get a Good Night’s Rest 

For this experiment, you’ll need a good programmable thermostat like the Danfoss Room Thermostat or the Grasslin ECO – either one of these will regulate the temperature like a normal thermostat, but they will also raise or lower it at certain times during the week.

You’ll also need a handle on your usual sleeping hours. For example, at Sparks Electrical we like to get a good night’s sleep, so a good time to briefly raise the temperature might be 9pm-10pm, and then lower it afterwards, at 10:30pm-11pm.

That isn’t exact, and it might take a few days to figure out your patterns. Play around a little to find a comfortable room temperature: you’re aiming to slightly alter your body temperature to promote deep sleep. There are no absolutes here, and everyone will be different.

PLEASE NOTE: it’s dangerous for your health to change your body temperature more than a couple of degrees, especially if you’re doing that every night. So once you’ve established a comfortable room temperature, don’t raise or lower that number at night by more than one or two degrees.

If you do decide to go down this route, let us know how it went in the comments! If you don’t, how do you get a good night’s sleep?

Image by Gino Zahnd (Creative Commons)

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