Anyone with insomnia knows that preparing for the long night ahead can feel a bit like walking a tight rope, a balancing act so to speak. Working your way down the hallway toward the bedroom has become a real act of courage, the dreaded journey into the unknown. We go through our mental checklist of preparedness and at the same time we remind ourselves not to think about it too much or the cycle of the wondering mind will already have an early start on the game. The aimlessly wondrous mind, once unleashed, can become an untamable beast that stands between you and your dwindling hopes of some much needed rest. Will you get yours tonight?
Of all the things that can lead to another long sleepless night, which there are many, sometimes we overlook one of the easiest things that we are in full control of. I'm talking about our comfort, the temperature to be more specific. All of the preparedness in the world can go out the window in an instant with the distraction of a sweaty pillow or a cold draft causing chills to run up your spell. A bead of sweat running through your hair will keep your mind washing and your body moving just trying to get comfortable. This is all common sense, nothing groundbreaking here, but actually the temperature in the room has a much more effect effect on your ability to fall sleep and stay sleep than just the pestering distractions that come with it.
All humans have our own internal biological clocks that map out our daily cycles for us. It's what doctors call our Circadian Rhythm. It's our behind the scenes schedule that initiates and controls our day and night cycles along with some help from the sun. This 24 hour cycle has a direct impact on our appetite, body temperature and sleep timing just to name a few. Our bodies do not react like an old battery that keeps draining its' energy minute by minute resulting is us feeling more tired as the energy is expended, but we tend to be wake and alert in the day and begin to feel more tired with the sunset of the night. A well rested body during the day will still require sleep that night.
When your Circadian clock senses that it's time to make the transition from the wake cycle to the sleep cycle, it signals your body to lower its core temperature. If your room is too warm, your body will struggle to lower its temperature to the zone necessary for the sunset of sleep to occur. Likewise, if your room is too cold, your body will begin to work overtime to bring your temperature up to the desired level. Although the optimum room temperature for someone to get the best sleep possible can vary from person to person, it is typically going to be around the 65 Degree Fahrenheit marker. Generally speaking, you're better off leaning toward the cooler side of the thermostat. You can always warm up slightly by cuddling with a sheet or blanket, whereas decreasing the temperature in your room to get comfortable is not as easily done. During the summer, it's much better to have your air conditioner running a little harder to maintain the comfort you need. I would much rather spend a little more on my utilities if it meant I was setting myself up for a better night's sleep.
Comfort, despite a formidable weapon in any Insomniac's arsenal is not a cure all, especially for those who's insomnia stems from an underlying medical condition. Regardless of what's causing your insomnia, let's chip away at the easy stuff and not overlook that one extra thing that is causing many of us to toss and turn at night. Keep an eye on that thermostat at night.