What's the Best Temperature for Sleeping?

Sleep longer and better by setting the AC to this number.

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There are several health benefits associated with a good night's rest. Getting enough sleep helps prevent you from getting sick, lowers your risk of serious health problems, reduces stress, and improves your mood, among other benefits.

If you aren't getting enough sleep, you can improve your sleep quality through several lifestyle changes—and sleeping in a cooler environment is a good place to start.

Why Does Being Cool Help You Sleep?

Your body temperature can change sleep quality by affecting your circadian rhythms (your biological clock). Circadian rhythms are biological processes that repeat every day, such as the dip in core temperature at bedtime and the temperature rise that happens as you wake up.

Researchers found that people had poorer quality sleep in warm sleeping environments. They hypothesized that those environments can prevent people's bodies from reducing their internal temperature, interfering with circadian temperature regulation and leading to poor sleep.

However, that does not mean you need to feel cold while in bed. Being warm can improve your sleep, too. Scientists found that having warmed skin can help people fall asleep faster and enter the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stage of sleep. It can also help your body cool by making your veins dilate; being warm when you fall asleep can help give you the benefits of having a cool sleeping area, too. As such, the key to good sleep could be feeling warm while the air around you is cool.

What Is the Best Temperature for Sleeping?

Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist and president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia, said 65 degrees may be ideal. "That doesn't mean 66 or 67 is terrible, but a cooler environment usually lends itself to a better quality of sleep," Dr. Winter said.

By helping the body lower its core temperature, you'll have better quality of sleep. But that isn't the case for everyone. Some people say they have an easier time falling asleep when the temperature in their bedroom is in the 70s, Dr. Winter said. "But if I were to measure the quality of their sleep in that warmer environment versus a cooler one, I would bet it would be better in the cooler environment."

How Can You Stay Cool While Sleeping?

Sleeping at 65 degrees is an easy method to directly change the temperature of your room. This can be as simple as changing your air conditioner settings or investing in fans. However, if falling asleep in a cool room isn't comfortable for you, Dr. Winter suggested keeping the thermostat low but layering on extra blankets. Blankets are easy to push off in the middle of the night if you do get warm, Dr. Winter said, so you can continue to sleep through the night soundly without waking.

Use Special Bedding

If you cannot change your room temperature or it is still too hot, Dr. Winter recommended investing in cooling bedding, a cooling mattress pad, or cooling pillows. Alternatively, if you would prefer to not buy special bedding, you could also try putting your pillowcases in the freezer. Then, take one out and use it on your pillow each night before bed. "If you keep your head cool, your body often follows suit," Dr. Winter said.

Cool Your Body Temperature

Besides your bedding and room temperature, you could also cool your body. You could do this with:

  • A cold pack
  • A glass of ice water next to your bed
  • Wearing light, breathable-fabric pajamas (or sleeping naked)
  • Using fans to help keep air flowing even when the air conditioning is on

Dr. Winter noted that changing your bedroom temperature is worth doing because it dramatically improves your sleep quality: "If somebody said to me, 'I have a friend who doesn't sleep well. You know nothing about them. What one suggestion would you make that you think odds are would have the most impact on their sleep?' I would say temperature."

A Quick Review

If you want good quality sleep—which is beneficial to your health in several ways—your best bet is to keep your room cool (around 65 degrees) to support your circadian cycle. Other than the thermostat, you can also use cooling bedding, turn on the fan, and drink cold water to get a better night's sleep.

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  1. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Get enough sleep.

  2. Obradovich N, Migliorini R, Mednick SC, Fowler JH. Nighttime temperature and human sleep loss in a changing climateSci Adv. 2017;3(5):e1601555. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601555

  3. Harding EC, Franks NP, Wisden W. The temperature dependence of sleepFront Neurosci. 2019;13:336. doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.00336

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