If you have ever woken up in the middle of night drenched in sweat or shivering from the cold, you know how important it is to find the optimal temperature when you sleep.
Finding your optimal temperature will help you sleep better. Your body temperature does more for you than just keep you comfortable while you sleep. It is a key factor in regulating your circadian rhythm that will determine when your body is ready to go to sleep and when your body is ready to wake up. Circadian literally means “about a day." This rhythm will respond to environmental cues, such as the sunlight, which will tell your body to feel alert or drowsy, depending on the time of day. There are a few tips that can help your body embrace this natural rhythm.
Tip 1: Keep your body clock on a regular schedule.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time. Consistency is the keystone of a healhty sleep routine. A consistent routine can make both falling asleep and getting up in the morning easier, less stressful, and more relaxing. If you end up playing catch up with naps on the weekends, it may be more difficult to fall asleep on a Sunday night. This will only set you back and start your week off on the wrong track. When we talk about consistency, we aren't just talking about going to bed at the same time though. A regular wake up time is important as well. Making the move to achieving a good night's rest begins with the very first moment that you wake up. The longer you're awake, the stronger your body's sleep drive becomes.
Tip 2: As soon as your alarm goes off, promptly turn on all the lights and open the blinds.
Exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning will reset your body’s clock for the day and trigger your brain to slow down the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. Light controls everything from your body temperature, metabolism, and sleep-wake cycle. Head outdoors in the morning, preferrably within the first hour of wakefulness. Read the newspaper on the front porch, go for a walk, or have your bowl of cereal close to a window that allows sunlight in. If exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning is not ideal or practical, consider purchasing a light box.
Tip 3: Get outside during the day.
Are you falling asleep at work or at school? As important as it is to immerse yourself in sunlight first thing in the morning, it's also important to allow as much sunlight into your environment all throughout the day. The sunlight is a powerful force in keeping your body’s clock on track and keeping you alert throughout the day. Being in a darker room sends your brain signs to produce melatonin, the hormone that helps your body fall asleep.
Tip 4: Make sure to time your workout correctly.
Are you looking to fall asleep easier and get a better night's rest? Well it's time to get moving! Even better, when you exercise regularly, you have a greater chance of steering clear from sleeping disorders. However, working out too close to your bedtime can set your sleep-wake cycle out of wack. Avoid working out 2-3 hours before your desired bedtime. Morning and afternoon sessions work better for the body.
Tip 5: Give your electronics a curfew.
The lights from your electronics can interrupt your circadian rhythm. When you are exposed to the warm blue light from your device, it sends signals to your brain that it's time to wake up. As these signals are sent, your body decreases the production of melatonin. It will take you longer to fall asleep and your sleep won’t be as deep if you use technology too close to your bedtime. Try turning your devices off at least an hour before you want to go to bed. Instead of using electronics, try activities such as reading, listening to music, or having a warm bath.
Being in tune with your circadian rhythm is important in having effective sleep and daytime routines. Your body temperature actually fluctuates during the day a couple of degrees. The “normal” body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It will rise 1-2 degrees starting in the early morning and lasting into the late afternoon. Your body temperature will then drop back down, hitting its lowest temperature a couple of hours before you wake up in the morning. When your temperature is rising back up, that is when you will feel the most alert and awake. When it is going down in the afternoon and evening, that is when you will start to feel drowsy.
Temperature plays such an important role in determining when we fall asleep. During your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the part of your brain that regulates temperature actually switches off and your body temperature is controlled by the temperature of your bedroom. Falling temperature can bring the onset of sleep. You may even sleep more soundly in a cooler room. There is a type of clothing that is available that will actually lower the temperature of your skin by one degree Celsius. This has been known to reduce the amount of time people wake during the night and prevent early morning waking. But let’s be honest, the majority of people don’t have these types of pajamas to help them sleep more soundly. Another method that will help lower your skin temperature would be to soak in a warm bath. You may think this would give you the opposite effect since a warm bath would initially raise your body temperature. However, when you get out of the tub, you will cool down as you dry the water off your skin and it evaporates. This will give you a cooling effect that will help your body prepare for sleep. If you have a bath 60-90 minutes before bed, this will give you the optimal amount of time for your body temperature to drop before you climb into bed. It's important to remember that when there is a chill in the air, don’t immediately start piling the blankets on. You don’t want to make yourself too warm because you won’t be able to rest comfortably.
If you struggle waking up in the mornings or you become drowsy in the afternoon, try doing some light exercises. Jumping Jacks or taking a quick brisk walk will help elevate your body temperature. When your body temperature is elevated, your energy level goes up, allowing you to be more productive and less sleepy.
Subscribe to KulKote
Get the latest news delivered right to your inbox