Understanding Thermoregulation & Sleep

Understanding Thermoregulation And Sleep

The topic of how thermoregulation affects sleep is still under research. For a long time, people have not been aware of the existing relationship between the body’s thermoregulation processes and sleep quality. Due to the limited information, you need to take a proactive step to understand thermoregulation, how it affects the body, and its relationship to sleep.

What Is Thermoregulation?

In simple terms, thermoregulation is how the body maintains its core internal temperature. To achieve this, the body balances between heat loss and heat gain. During the day, the body often experiences minor shifts in temperatures while maintaining a balance. The natural shift in temperature mostly goes unnoticed; however, it’s in your best interest to keep tabs on the changes for your overall wellbeing.

Normally, the body’s internal temperature ranges 97.7- 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. When the body temperature goes below or above these temperatures, it can have serious health complications and even cause death.

What Is Thermoregulation During Sleep?

Thermoregulation is not restricted to daytime; this process also occurs at night when you sleep. However, there are a few differences in the process when awake and asleep. The most prominent difference is that the body slows down metabolism while stimulating other heat loss mechanisms when asleep.

According to research, the slight drop in temperature is instrumental in falling asleep and staying asleep; this is because it helps induce a feeling of drowsiness. The temperature drop is often progressive and starts late in the afternoon all through till evening till you get to bed.

Aside from helping you sleep. Thermoregulation also plays a role in waking you up. As the sun rises, the body naturally starts to raise the body temperature. This way, you can get up and stay alert once you are out of bed. Study shows that a shift in internal core temperature directly relates to the body’s circadian rhythms. When the body is operating optimally, these rhythms follow a close-to-24-hour cycle which helps you maintain a regular sleep and wake routine.

Factors Affecting Thermoregulation During Sleep

There are several factors that alter the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature. For example, the following factors can greatly lower the body’s internal body temperature:

  • Illnesses and sleep disorders
  • Metabolic conditions like hypothyroidism
  • Cold weather or bedroom temperatures
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

On the other hand, the following factors may cause the body’s internal temperatures to rise:

  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Fever or any other illness
  • Hot weather or bedroom temperature
  • Digestion

Each of the above factors can negatively impact sleep quality, hence the link between thermoregulation and sleep deprivation. When you experience sleep deprivation, it’s best to seek medical attention as fast as possible to prevent cases of impaired cognitive function, decreased immune system function, and interpersonal conflict, diminished mood, and reduced work performance. Some of these cases can manifest into sleep apnea, in which case you have to visit a sleep apnea snoring dentist to help you get quality sleep.

Ideal Temperature To Sleep In

Sleep quality is influenced by several things, including getting enough sleep. Instead of spending the entire night tossing and turning, you need to find the right temperature to help you fall asleep. In most cases, when the room is too warm or too cold, you may find it difficult to find quality sleep. Here are things to consider to help with finding an ideal temperature.

Choose The Right Beddings

You may want to consider breathable options such as cotton or linen for your beddings and comforters. This way, you can maintain an ideal temperature while sleeping.

Avoid Exercising Towards Bedtime

Avoid intense workout routines towards bedtime. It’s advisable to go for a short walk. This way, you can avoid increasing your heart rate.

Buy A Good Mattress

Just like your beddings, you need to invest in a mattress that doesn’t trap warm air at night. Go for options with optimal breathability to help regulate the temperature when asleep.

Avoid Caffeine

Avoid any caffeinated drink in the afternoon or evening as these can cause you to remain alert, even when your bedtime clocks.

Avoid Spicy Meals

Spicy foods can raise your body temperature.

Most people experience thermoregulation without even noticing the fluctuation in internal body temperature. By understanding the link between thermoregulation and sleep, you can prevent sleep deprivation and improve your sleep quality. Before jumping into bed, you need to make a few alterations to ensure your temperature is kept optimal for better sleep.


Hannah Gilbert

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