During the summer months I used to find myself lying awake in bed, tossing and turning, wondering why I could not go to sleep. Sometimes I would be replaying my day in my head, or even critiquing a sports game I just played and how I could have done better. Either way, I was not sleeping when I needed to be. By the time I realized what was going on it was usually around 2am or 3am, and that was the point I started getting upset because I knew I was not going to get a full 8 hours of sleep like I would prefer, and being upset only made it more difficult to go to sleep.
Living in a desert climate certainly makes for some warm summer nights, and when I am outside enjoying it, it can be very relaxing after a long days work. Bringing it with me to bed however is not as enjoyable and anything but relaxing. For a while it never really occurred to me that the warm weather outside, and the temperature of my bedroom were actually contributing to my inability to get a good night’s sleep. I would start the night with pajama pants, a sheet and comforter on top of it. By the time I woke up the next morning I had no pajama pants on, I had woken up and turned the ceiling fan on and I was only sleeping under the thin sheet. It was at this point that I came to the realization that, for me, in order to get a good night sleep I needed the room temperature to be around 68 or 69 degrees Fahrenheit, or my body temperature just needed to be cooler.
Which Temperature Will Help Me Sleep Better?
In a recent study performed by Dr. Christopher Winter, Medical Director at Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine, on what the ideal temperature for your bedroom to be in order to get a good night sleep, he makes some very important observations; individuals that have a warmer core body temperature tend to sleep better when the room temperature is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. He also cited that room temperatures below 54 degrees or above 75 degrees would increase your chances of waking up during the night and make it more difficult to get to sleep. I recognized right away that I had a warmer core body temperature, and it made more sense to me why I can drive in the winter time without a coat and not freeze. Some people are just naturally warmer than others. It is up to you to decide how low or high you want to go on the temperature of your room, just be aware that what may work for one person, may not work for another, so be considerate to your partner and find that happy medium.
Watch Your Energy Bill
Clearly having your house a cool 67 degrees Fahrenheit will not come at a cheap price. So in order to save a little bit of money and still get a restful night’s sleep I had to think outside the box a little. Here are a few tricks I use to save a little money and also help me sleep better:
1. Close The Vents. In our house, we only have our kids every other week, so it only made sense to close the vents in their rooms when they were not with us. Also, our basement is finished and we do not really go down there much, and when we do it seems like it is always freezing anyway, so I closed all the vents down there as well. Doing this allows for more air to be pushed through the vents that are open and you are not cooling/heating empty rooms throughout the night. During the summer I noticed that the air being pushed through the vent in our bedroom was stronger and cooled the room much quicker and we didn’t need to lower the thermostat to achieve this. Obviously this is not applicable for everyone, but try to close as many vents as possible, anything will help.
2. Use A Fan. Our bedroom has a ceiling fan so at night I like to turn it on right away and get some air circulating. If you do not have a ceiling fan then you can find a box fan at most stores for less than $30.
3. Get A Cooling Mat. If money is too tight to allow for cooler temperatures in the summer then perhaps getting a Gel Cooling Mat for your bed or pillow will help do the trick.
4. Relax Before You Go To Bed. When I was younger, my brothers and sister and I would always get wound up before bed, running around the house or playing around, and I clearly remember my dad always telling us, “calm down and get ready for bed”. Now that I have a son of my own, he is 4 years old, I find myself telling him the same thing at night. As a parent it is necessary to have them calm down because they can go to sleep easier, and that in turn makes for a more peaceful night’s sleep as a parent. Looking back now I see more wisdom in that statement to “calm down and get ready for bed” than I did as a child. By relaxing before bed and not engaging in activities that would increase your internal body temperature, you will allow your body to cool down and be more prepared to sleep.
5. Don’t Worry About Your Problems. Problems, we all have them and they come in all shapes and sizes. Do not feel like you are the exception when it comes to worrying about things that need to be done. I used to think my problems were worth thinking about, and night time seemed to be the best time for me to “think”. Yeah, not worth the hassle and stress you are giving yourself. What I found that will help you ease your mind is to write down your problems, or whatever it is you are thinking about at night that is keeping you up. You do not have to avoid them altogether, but you do not have to lose sleep because of them either. Write them down, and if you have possible solutions you have been thinking about then right those down too. Get it all out and then take that paper and get it out of your room! Worry about those things when you can actually do something about them, and that is during the day.
Sleeping Better Makes Your Days More EnjoyableIn conclusion, the more I have learned about sleeping and what makes for a better sleep environment, the better I have been sleeping at night. I used to wake up in the morning and my hair was crazy, going all directions and I did not feel rested at all. Tossing and turning was the reason behind my crazy hair and the tossing and turning was because I was not sleeping well at night. Now that I have been sleeping better I have found that I do not toss and turn because I am in a deeper sleep, and that alone makes for a better sleeping environment for my wife. Also feeling rested in the morning helps me be more positive and have more energy for the day. Who knows, maybe the secret to happiness is sleeping better?
Snoring is more than just a nuisance—it disrupts the sleep habits and lives of 90 million American adults and their partners. That's why we set out in 2003 to restore sleep and help as many people as possible live happier, healthier lives.