You've just come home after one of the longest days of your life. For hours, all you talked about was how excited you were to conk out. Finally, you're in bed under the warm, cozy covers—except now, you can't fall asleep. What gives?
Exploring the myriad reasons we can't fall asleep quickly and stay that way is a priority on team Byrdie. (Recently, we went so far as to consult a panel of hypnotists for tips to beat insomnia.) We've spoken to many top sleep experts, and trust us when we say there are countless factors that contribute to sleep dysfunction, from general stress to caffeine to binging on Netflix right before bed.
But according to sleep researchers, there is one very simple, often overlooked factor that's responsible for many cases of minor insomnia, especially in the wintertime: the temperature of your room.
Keep reading to discover how temperature is affecting your sleep. (Plus, learn the ideal range for your bedroom!)
As it turns out, temperature plays a surprisingly important role in your ability to fall asleep. According to OSO sleep researcher Rachel Wong, before you go to sleep, your body performs an elaborate ritual to get you ready for bedtime. When it gets dark, "your body produces the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone, a compound called adenosine kicks into overdrive, and your body's core temperature actually drops to initiate sleep."
In the winter especially, it can be tempting to cozy up under a heavy comforter and warm pajamas. But researchers say that if your room, bedding, or pajamas are too warm, it will encourage your body to stay awake. "As temperature increases, melatonin declines, and wakefulness sets in," explains Anna Persaud, MD, sleep expert and CEO of This Works.
So warm temperatures are no good for sleep—what is the optimal temperature? According to NYU researcher and Airweave sleep expert Rebecca Robbins, PhD, the magic number is 65º. Our other experts agree that there's some wiggle room here: For some people, it might be as low at 60º, and it could be as high as 70º for others. But even in the winter, 65º is the temperature you should shoot for.
If you think your room might be too warm, Wong suggests cracking a window, lowering your thermostat, swapping your down comforter for a lighter duvet, or simply sticking one foot out from under the covers. "This classic trick is actually very effective at cooling the body quickly," she says. You could also try digging out your bedside fan from the summer.
Is your room the perfect temperature, and you still can't fall asleep? Try this genius trick for how to fall asleep in under a minute.