Out Cold

When I go to sleep at night, I have to have my room ice cold. If it’s too hot, I can’t fall asleep or I wake up feeling sick. Whether it’s Summer time and hot outside, or Winter and snowing outside, I will have some form of air conditioning on in my room. I started to wonder, were there any possible health benefits of sleeping in a cold room? I began to research and found that many scientists have studied how the cold effects your sleep and the benefits of sleeping in a cooler temperature.

An article written by Markham Heid of the New York Times explains the many benefits of sleeping in a colder environment. A study has found that being in a colder room activates the body’s sleeping systems giving your body the message to go to sleep. One study mentioned in the article found that sleeping in a cold room could cause you to burn more calories. The study involved older men who slept in 66-degree rooms for one month. The researchers found that this caused the brown fat in the body to become operative, allowing more calories to be burnt (Heid 2014).

As I went through my researching, I began to wonder if sleeping in a colder room could help people who have sleeping disorders as well. I found another study that has found that colder temperatures help people with insomnia fall asleep better; specifically, by wearing a cooling cap. People with insomnia have a high amount of activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, which causes the brain to stay warm at night, rather than cool off. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. It involved 12 people who had insomnia who were given a cooling cap before going to sleep. They found that the participants were able to fall asleep within 13 minutes and slept for almost 90 percent of the time that they were bed (Park 2011).

It’s clear that sleeping in cooler temperatures has many health benefits. It is recommended by doctors and researchers to sleep in cooler conditions as an easy way to help you fall asleep quicker and prevent any sleeping problems or disorders (Park 2011).


You Asked: Is Sleeping In a Cold Room Better For You?

Tip for Insomniacs: Cool Your Head to Fall Asleep


8 thoughts on “Out Cold

  1. jnb5450

    I always love reading about sleeping blogs, because thats all us college students want to get: a good amount of sleep. It’s interesting that you can only sleep in the cold and I enjoyed reading about the studies that prove why people also like sleeping in cold environments. I guess it makes sense, better than sweating under your sheets. Here is a link to check out about how different temperatures effect our sleep: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/cant-sleep-adjust-the-temperature#1

  2. Lydia A Chelli

    This is a really fascinating post to me because I need to sleep in cool temperatures for a good night’s sleep. It is also very cool that you burn more calories in a cold sleeping environment! Regarding the first study you mention, do you think the results would have been any different if women were studied in addition to men? While I do believe the results and conclusions are valid, I think if women were incorporated into the study, then this would make the experiment bigger and better. Also, more trials would further increase the validity of the results if they are able to be replicated. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Cole Donald Rogers

    Growing up I was the same way, my room could be twenty degrees but no matter what I kept my air conditioner on. Before reading this blog I did not know there was health benefits of sleeping in the cold, for me it was just a personal preference. Having been doing that all my life though it looks like I will not be stopping anytime soon. Sleep is a very crucial part of our health and many factors go into play when trying to gain a ‘good nights rest’. If positive health effects arrive when you sleep in the cold then do you think there are health risks for sleeping when you are hot? Here is an article that briefly explains the optimal sleeping environment:
    Best Temperature For Sleep, Effects of Temperature on Sleep

  4. Lucas Thomas Hansen

    First off, I completely agree and I need the room to be ice cold or I will not be able to fall asleep either. The fact that people fall asleep in cooler environments easier makes perfect sense and since it is proven scientifically makes me feel normal. I am glad you brought up this controversial topic and brought a scientific voice into it.

  5. Bernarda Jarrin Alvear

    As I read this post I realized that I should start sleeping in colder rooms. Unlike you, I like to sleep in warm rooms, they seem more cozy to me. From now on I will definitely put on my fan and make my room colder, since these days it had been too hot. I wanted to find out more about why is it good for you and found an article from the Wall Street Journal, it actually addresses most of the points you talked about in your article but it also talked about how woman like higher temperatures while men prefer them lower. This New Yorker article mentions a Dutch study that believes that man and woman have different temperatures in which they are comfortable. This is very intriguing to me and maybe its I reason why I always prefer high temperatures over cold.

  6. David Ross

    If it is not freezing in my room then I am too hot. I HAVE to have a cold room. If I get too cold then I can just throw on another blanket, but if it’s too hot in my room then the only thing I can do is get a cold cloth and hope it cools me down. I prefer cold rooms just because of comfortability but I did not realize that sleeping in colder environments actually had health benefits! Very interesting article. One thing I was surprised about was the fact that you burn more calories while cold than when hot. I always figured that if I was sweating when I slept that I burned more calories. I looked into the subject of brown fat a little bit more and found that the optimum level for brown fat activity and the optimum level for sleeping soundly are actually different. Shivering activates brown fats and while this may help the body burn calories, you may not be able to sleep like a baby while shivering all night. Heres an article that discusses this in detail http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/

  7. Meaghan Elizabeth Simone

    I couldn’t agree more, sleeping in a colder room is significantly better than a hot one. Ive noticed that I always managed to fall asleep better in chillier rooms, but I thought that was just a me preference and not an actual link. I just thought that I liked cold rooms better because I could surround myself in heavy blankets and fluffy pillows, which made me feel better. Heres a link to an article explaining why wrapping yourself in heavier blankets while you sleep is actually beneficial: https://www.davidwolfe.com/weighted-blankets-sleep-and-anxiety/

  8. Brett Alan Merritt

    Sleeping in a colder room at night is always better. I’m with you. I like to have some form of cooling system on whether its warm or cold outside. I preferred this just because I like to wrap up in my blankets, but I’m happy knowing there’s positive benefits around this as well.

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