For many of us, getting a good night’s sleep is rare. Instead of drifting off to dreamland, we instead find ourselves tossing and turning all night. Restful sleep is important for health, mood, and productivity. If we don’t get sufficient sleep. It literally affects every area of our lives.

Symptoms of Insomnia

How much sleep is enough varies from person to person. Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. However, some individuals feel well rested after only six hours, while others have difficulty functioning on less than nine.

With so many individual sleep needs, determining how many hours of uninterrupted sleep you need can be confusing.

  • Common symptoms of insomnia include:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking too early
  • Not feeling rested in the morning
  • Lack of energy during daytime hours
  • Anxiety, irritability, and depression
  • Difficulty remembering or focusing on common tasks

Causes of Insomnia

Recent advances in sleep research have helped identify many of the root causes of modern insomnia. Here is a list of some common reasons modern Americans aren’t getting enough sleep.

Caffeine. Coffee, tea, soda, and other caffeinated beverages are stimulants. Consuming large amounts of caffeine during the day, or consuming caffeinated beverages late in the day, can interrupt your sleep at night.

Nicotine. Tobacco products contain nicotine which acts as a stimulant much like caffeine.  

Alcohol. While alcohol may seem to help you fall asleep, it actually inhibits deeper stages of sleep, causing frequent waking at night.

Light Pollution. Lights from televisions, night lights, and outdoor street lights can interrupt natural sleep patterns.

Screen Time. Cell phones, computers, televisions, and other electronic devices emit blue light. Recent studies have found that exposure to this blue light in the two hours before bed can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.  

Room Temperature. If your bedroom is too hot or too cold, it can disrupt your ability to fall and stay asleep. Many sleep experts agree sleep temperature can have a huge impact on sleep quality.

The Best Temperature for Sleep

Many people are surprised at how much the temperature affects sleeplessness. However, it can have a huge impact on sleep quality.

During sleep hours, our body’s internal thermostat is naturally lowered by the brain. Basically, your brain creates a slight drop in core temperature which induces sleep. If your bedroom temperature is too hot or cold, your body will struggle to achieve its perfect internal sleep temperature. This can result in night sweats, hot flashes, and poor sleep quality.

Sleep experts recommend a bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. When your room is cool, not only is it easier to fall asleep, it is also easier to stay asleep.

Thermostat settings lower or higher than the recommended temperature results in restlessness. Extreme temperatures can also affect the quality of REM (rapid eye movement), the stage of sleep with the highest brain activity. This stage of sleep is crucial to a good night’s sleep.

Maintaining the Perfect Nighttime Temperature

To maintain the optimal sleeping temperature, set your indoor temps ahead of time using a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat. This ensures your bedroom temperature will always be perfect, even if you forget to adjust your thermostat before bedtime.

These modern thermostats allow you to set a higher temperature for daytime hours, reducing the amount of energy consumed and saving you money on your utility bill. A Wi-Fi thermostat also gives you the freedom to adjust your thermostat settings even when you aren’t at home.

If you have questions about how a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat or would like to upgrade your current model, contact your local HVAC technician for more details.