How many times have you laid awake at night, staring at the ceiling, just wishing you could sleep? Maybe it’s pain in your joints that’s keeping you up or maybe it’s the changes in your hormone levels due to aging… or maybe it’s simply just your lifestyle and sleep habits. With a few tips & tweaks—including knowing what the best sleeping temperature is for seniors—you could be on your way to a much better night of rest.
How Room Temperature Affects You As You Age
Here’s why it’s important to know what the safest & healthiest room temperature is:
- Promotes better sleep quality – A comfortable room temperature can help regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle by promoting the release of melatonin, leading to better sleep quality. (source: Sleep Foundation)
- Helps regulate blood pressure – Extreme temperatures can cause fluctuations in blood pressure, and maintaining the right temperature can help regulate it by reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system. (source: American Heart Association)
- Reduces the risk of dehydration – High temperatures can cause excessive sweating, leading to dehydration (source: Mayo Clinic)
- Prevents heat exhaustion & heatstroke – Helps prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke by reducing the risk of overheating. (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Reduces the risk of hypothermia – Helps keep the body’s core temperature within a safe range. (source: National Institute on Aging)
- Helps maintain cognitive function – Reduces stress on the brain that extreme temperatures can put on it and improves blood flow. (source: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience)
- Helps manage arthritis pain – Rooms that are too cold can make arthritis pain worse. By keeping the temperature within a healthy range it helps alleviate the pain by reducing stiffness and inflammation in the joints. (source: Arthritis Foundation)
- Improves respiratory function – Cold temperatures can worsen respiratory conditions, while the recommended temperature range can help to reduce inflammation and constriction in the airways. (source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Reduces the risk of infections – Helps reduce the risk of infections by preventing the growth of bacteria and viruses in the environment. (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Promotes cardiovascular health – Can reduce the risk of hypertension, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular events. (source: International Journal of Biometeorology)
- Promotes better digestion – Can help improve blood flow and reduce inflammation in the digestive system. (source: Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology)
What Is The Best Sleeping Temperature for Seniors?
As you could probably tell from how room temperature affects you as you age, the ideal sleeping temperature for seniors is one that is neither too hot nor too cold.
Experts recommend that older adults keep their bedrooms between 68-70F. This is the ideal sleeping temperature for seniors.
However, your personal comfort should also be considered. Some of you who suffer from hot flashes or night sweats my prefer it slightly cooler while others with poor circulation may prefer it slightly warmer.
Just remember not to go any lower than 65F nor any higher than 78F. Outside of this range you start to enter “extreme temperatures” which come with increased risks.
Risks & Dangers of Sleeping in “Extreme Temperatures”
Sleeping in temperatures that are too hot or too cold (outside of the 65-78F healthy range) can have adverse effects on the body. For example, sleeping in a room that is too hot can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. On the other hand, sleeping in a room that is too cold can lead to hypothermia, which can be especially dangerous for seniors with poor circulation.
How To Get a Good Night’s Sleep in Summer
- Use Lighter Bedding: Switching to lighter bedding such as cotton sheets can help seniors stay cool during the summer months.
- Use Fans or Air Conditioning: Helps circulate air and lowers the temperature in the room.
- Keep the Room Dark: Helps regulate body temperature and promotes restful sleep.
How To Get a Good Night’s Sleep in Winter
- Use Warmer Bedding: Switching to warmer bedding such as flannel sheets can help seniors stay warm during the winter months.
- Use a Humidifier: Helps prevent dry skin and respiratory problems caused by dry air.
- Keep the Room Dark: As with summer, keeping the room dark can help regulate body temperature and promote restful sleep.
Sleep Tips For Older Adults To Get A Good Night’s Rest
Did you know that sleep is a trainable skill? That means you don’t have to give in to a life of staring at the ceiling every night. Try incorporating some of these tips into your routine:
- Do some gentle exercises during the day (like these ones)
- Turn off screens before bedtime
- Limit caffeine & alcohol
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Develop a bedtime routine
From knowing the best sleeping temperature for seniors to making a few small lifestyle changes, you can greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
To learn more about how each of the above tips affects your sleep, how to easily incorporate them into your daily life & what else you need to know about what affects your sleep, there’s a helpful Better5 course called “Better Sleep”—check it out below!