Is there an optimal temperature for proper rest? A team of researchers sought to answer this question by recruiting 50 volunteers, all over the age of 60 and residing in Boston.
The answer is that the best temperature for optimal sleep ranges between 68 and 77°F, as detailed in a study published in the journal Science of Total Environment.
“Sleep tends to be easier and often deeper and more restorative in a cooler environment,” stated the lead author, Amir Baniassadi, in a press release co-issued by Harvard University and the non-profit organization Hebrew SeniorLife.
Study Unveils the Ideal Temperature for Restful Sleep
“This isn’t arbitrary but is rooted in our biology. Our body temperature naturally drops at night, aiding the onset and maintenance of sleep. If the environment we sleep in is too warm, it can interfere with this temperature drop and disrupt sleep,” added the health expert.
The Importance of Good Sleep for Health
Previous studies have emphasized the importance of good sleep in maintaining optimal health and quality of life. Lack of sleep, interruptions, and in this case, temperature, can impact the quality of rest.
“Sleep disruptions can lead to memory issues, increased risk of falls, and a decreased ability to perform daily activities. It can also affect our mood and our overall sense of well-being,” Baniassadi added.
Significant Reduction in Sleep Quality
Using portable sleep monitors and environmental sensors, the scientists found that in a temperature range of 77 to 86°F, participants experienced a decrease of up to 10% in sleep efficiency, a significant figure.
“Our findings showed that sleep was more efficient and restorative when the nighttime ambient temperature ranged between 68 and 77°F. There was a clinically relevant drop of 5-10% in sleep efficiency when the temperature rose from 77°F to 86°F,” the team noted in the study.
Focusing on Climate Change and Rising Temperatures
The experts also emphasize the need to better adapt senior residences and private homes in light of rising temperatures due to climate change.
“These results highlight the potential to improve sleep quality in older adults by optimizing home thermal environments. They also emphasize the importance of personalized temperature adjustments based on individual needs,” they pointed out.
“Moreover, our study underscores the potential impact of climate change on the sleep quality of older adults, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and supports the need to enhance their adaptability in the face of a changing climate,” they concluded.
With information from sciencedirect.com