When light enters our eyes, there is a part of our brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (mercifully abbreviated to ‘SCN’), which triggers neural signals that control our internal temperature. As evening comes around and the sun begins to set the SCN begins to signal our body to begin cooling down.
The Connection Between Light and Temperature
The circadian rhythm is our twenty-four-hour sleep/wake cycle, and it is intimately connected with the small temperature fluctuations that we all experience because of how our bodies respond to light. We cool down by a few degrees as we sleep in order for our heart rate, respiratory rate, and organs to slow.
Does Body Temperature Drop or Rise When You Sleep?
Your body temperature drops by a couple of degrees as you sleep. It fluctuates slightly within this colder range in the same way it does while you’re awake and warmer.
In the late afternoon, your body will begin to cool somewhat to prepare itself for sleep. You are then at your coldest about two hours before you wake up. After that, you gradually begin to warm up again as your body prepares you for the day.
As a result of the natural cooling process we experience daily, setting your thermostat at night within the range of 60° F (15° C) and 67° F (19° C) can help facilitate this drop in your body temperature and can result in a more restful night.
How Does Thermoregulation Work in the Human Body?
Thermoregulation is a process by which our body regulates its temperature. This regulation is essential for a whole host of reasons, but as it relates to sleep, it is essential that our body warms and cools in conjunction with sunlight.
We are equipped with the ability to know when to sleep in a sophisticated way that goes beyond just feeling tired. If the lights go out, a process that starts in our brains will begin where we gradually start to cool to prepare for rest.
Our bodies naturally want to achieve homeostasis between 98°F (37°C) and 100°F (37.8°C). During sleep, our core temperature is on the lower end of that spectrum while during wakefulness, we are slightly warmer.
What Happens to Body Temperature During REM Sleep?
During REM sleep (also referred to as deep sleep), the cells within our brains that regulate temperature turn off. Our body’s temperature is then regulated by the temperature within our beds and bedrooms. Oddly enough, humans become temporarily cold-blooded during REM sleep!
At the mercy of our environmental temperature
This occurrence during REM sleep may seem odd, considering that the processes that maintain our internal temperature seem so carefully calibrated. A bedroom that is too warm or cold can cause you to wake up from deep sleep sweating or shivering due to our susceptibility to the temperature of our environment during REM sleep.
Can You Change Body Temperature During a Sleep Cycle?
It is both possible and wise to regulate your body temperature during the night. Our bodies do have a natural nighttime routine, but we can aid that routine by changing the temperature of our environments, and thus our bodies.
Thermoregulation is the system our body uses to warm and cool itself and works very closely with our circadian rhythms. Although our systems work well on their own, we can externally aid these processes.
Our body temperature is susceptible to the temperature of our environment, especially during REM sleep, which constitutes roughly twenty-five percent of our night.
There have been several incredible gadgets developed to aid in maintaining an optimal sleep temperature, and thousands of people have reported that they work wonders.
One of them is the Perfect Sleep Pad, it is s a water circulating cooling pad, that helps maintain thermo regulation, buy pulling excess heat into the water that runs underneath your body.
The cooling pad acts like a heat sink gently pulling away excess heat instead of storing it in the mattress below. Core body temperature will be influenced when you need it the most during your deeper sleep fazes when your core body cools naturally. Allowing you to stay in deep sleep faze longer, due to a more constant core body temperature.
What is Core Body Temperature?
Your core body temperature is at a reasonably stable 98.6°F (37.7°C). This homeostatic temperature is regulated by our internal systems that monitor and adjust our temperature.
What is Normal Ideal Body Temperature While Sleeping?
Since we sleep one to two degrees cooler than when we are awake, helping your body regulate its temperature can help facilitate better sleep by aiding the natural process of cooling down as we rest. It is traditionally agreed upon that the best temperature to sleep at in order to give your body a boost is between 60° F (15° C) and 67° F (19° C) for most people and 65° F (18° C) and 70° F (21° C) for the elderly or infants.
A small adjustment to your overnight household temp or even just the temp of your bed could significantly improve your quality of sleep. In fact, changes in temperature are one of your brain’s biological queues to know its bedtime.