The science of sleep: discovering the best room temperature for restful sleep

Experts agree that rooms should not have a temperature higher than 20 degrees Celsius for optimal sleep; however, this suggestion does not necessarily apply to the entire population.

What is the ideal temperature for a peaceful sleep?


According to a new study by American researchers, older people benefit from more restful sleep when the night temperature is between 20 and 25 degrees.

Last winter, with the energy sector under pressure from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the growing urgency to be more environmentally responsible in the face of climate change, many European states recommended raising heating temperatures in homes to a maximum of 19 degrees Fahrenheit, or even 17 degrees Fahrenheit in the bedrooms.

These proposals revived the debate on the ideal night temperature for a good night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation of the United States, the ideal temperature for sleeping is between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius.

But does this advice apply to the entire population?

No, not always.

While recommendations state that babies can benefit from a slightly warmer bedroom, a new study indicates that they’re not the only demographic with unique requirements.

The new study focuses on the sleeping patterns of older people and sheds light on the perfect night temperature so they can get a good night’s sleep. In addition to the need to sleep in complete darkness and silence, one of the most important variables to achieve a good sleep is the night temperature.

That is why a group of American researchers set out to discover what temperature favors sleep in older people. For good reason: this particular population can be particularly sleep deprived, which can influence their health and well-being.

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The researchers used a sample of 50 community-dwelling older people for their study, analyzing sleep duration, efficiency, and restlessness over time.

Temperatures ranging between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.


Their findings, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, show that sleep quality is “optimal” when bedroom temperatures are between 20 and 25 degrees and decreases when the surrounding air cools or warms.

For example, researchers observed a 5 to 10% decrease in sleep efficiency when the temperature went from 25 degrees to 30 degrees, which seems pretty high. However, the study authors note that there were considerable disparities in optimal bedroom temperature between subjects.

In a press release, Harvard Medical School researcher Amir Baniassadi says, “These findings highlight the potential to improve sleep quality in older adults by optimizing home thermal environments and emphasizing the importance of personalized temperature settings based on individual needs and circumstances.

While these findings may lead to new suggestions for promoting restful sleep in older people, they also highlight the need to adapt in an era of increasingly frequent and intense heat waves, which can disrupt people’s sleep.

“In addition, the study highlights the potential impact of climate change on the sleep quality of older adults, especially those with a lower socioeconomic status,” concludes Amir Baniassadi.

This discovery has motivated researchers to focus future efforts on the impact of climate change on the sleep of this specific demographic group, with the goal of emphasizing innovative solutions aimed at fostering an atmosphere conducive to sleep.

What do you think about this? Tell us in the comments.

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