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Scientists recommend ideal temperature for a restful night's sleep

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 8 months ago

Sleep is an essential component of overall health, alongside diet, exercise, and lifestyle. A recent study has shed light on the optimal sleep temperature for older adults, which falls within the range of 68 to 77°F. The findings, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, suggest that ambient temperature plays a crucial role in initiating and maintaining sleep.

According to Dr. Sudha Tallavajhula, a sleep neurologist at UTHealth Houston and TIRR Memorial Hermann, low ambient light and temperature send signals to the body, promoting the release of neurotransmitters that facilitate sleep. However, during REM sleep, the body's ability to regulate temperature is impaired. This means that high room temperatures can lead to frequent arousals from sleep, negatively impacting sleep quality.

The study, which involved 50 older adults and collected data from 11,000 nights of sleep, found a decline in sleep efficiency as temperature increased from 77°F to 86°F. These findings also highlight the potential influence of climate change on sleep quality, particularly among older adults. Lead researcher Amir Baniassadi, from the Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School, suggests that rising nighttime temperatures due to climate change and urban heat island effects could lead to a decline in sleep quality in cities across the country.

The effects of climate change on sleep quality are likely to disproportionately affect those with lower socioeconomic status. People who cannot afford to cool their homes or live in areas with limited green space and intense urban heat island effects are at a higher risk. These individuals also have less access to healthcare to address the health consequences of disrupted and inadequate sleep.

To improve sleep quality, maintaining a consistent sleep routine, ensuring low light and low temperature in the bedroom, and avoiding stimulating activities close to bedtime are recommended. However, it is important to note that as individuals age, the depth and duration of sleep are typically impacted. Older adults with underlying medical conditions, mental health conditions, sleep disorders, or those taking certain medications are particularly vulnerable to environmental disruptions.

In future research, the focus will be on identifying and addressing the needs of those who are most at risk, such as older adults in subsidized housing or those with limited mobility or cognitive decline. The goal is to develop strategies to help them adapt to a changing climate, potentially through automated temperature regulation in their bedrooms.

In conclusion, prioritizing sleep health is crucial for overall well-being. Consistency in sleep routine, maintaining a low-light and low-temperature environment, and seeking help from sleep specialists if necessary are key steps towards improving sleep quality.

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