There are several culprits we consider if we aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, from stress and anxiety to caffeine consumption, bed and mattress issues, and possibly a number of others. One possible issue you may not have considered here, however: The temperature, air quality and related air factors in the room you’re sleeping in.
At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re happy to provide a huge range of HVAC services, from furnace and air conditioner installation to smart thermostat upgrades, air quality solutions and numerous others. If you’re looking to alter the temperature range of certain rooms or even your entire home with sleep in mind, we’re here to help in several robust ways. What role does the HVAC system play in sleep cycles and temperature, and what are the proper ranges to strive for here? Let’s go over a full primer.
Sleep Cycles and Temperature
It’s important to note that everything we’ll talk about in this section isn’t just coming from us – it’s backed by modern science and multiple research studies, all of which point to the same conclusion: Human bodies prefer cooler temperatures for sleep than they do for waking activity. The body will work to naturally cool itself during sleep for most people, but it doesn’t have to do this work alone – and that’s where your HVAC system comes into play.
In addition, it should be noted that temperature itself is not the only environmental factor that plays into sleep cycles. Another is darkness, which carries a major role in helping the brain determine when it’s time to go to sleep and when to begin creating sleep hormones like melatonin. Between keeping your room cooler and keeping it nice and dark, you will be helping your body achieve its natural rhythms more organically, allowing for sleep at your “programmed” settings, if you will.
General Temperature Ranges
So what is the ideal temperature range for sleep? Most research has generally landed on a range surrounding 68 degrees Fahrenheit – this precise number is ideal for many people, but plus or minus a few degrees in either direction is usually acceptable as well. It’s generally recommended that, during the summer, AC temperature be set no higher than 71 or 72 during sleep hours.
As you may have already noted, this is often lower than where most people keep their daytime temperature during summer. This is one area that highlights the value of a smart or programmable thermostat, which will allow you to program your sleep time and let the HVAC system begin optimizing the temperature in advance. By the time you hit the pillow for the night, your room will already be at the desired temperature for quality sleep.
HVAC and Temperature Regulation
The first and largest area where your HVAC system plays a role here, naturally, is within temperature regulation. Not only does your body need lower temperatures for ideal sleep, it needs them to be consistent, and your system is part of this.
One important theme here: Regular upkeep and maintenance. If your system is well-kept and sees minor issues or inefficiency problems corrected on a bi-yearly basis, it will have the capacity to cool your home to a lower point at night than during the day; if not, however, it may lack this capacity due to worn-down components, clogged air ducts or related concerns.
Ventilation and Air Quality
Similarly important, however, is the air quality present in your room as you sleep. Poor air quality leads to higher risk of respiratory risks like asthma or allergies, and may cause you to cough and sneeze during the night based on trapped contaminants that are present in your air – and this, in turn, will lower sleep quality.
If your air is well-ventilated, however, this won’t be a concern. The first big task here is regularly changing or cleaning your air filter, which is responsible for trapping contaminants and removing them from your breathing air. You should also utilize fresh air by opening windows where possible. And once again, ensuring your system is properly maintained will help you avoid ventilation concerns.
Humidity that’s out of whack – on either end of the spectrum – may also interfere with sleep. High humidity levels lead to an overly “wet” feel in the room, one that may make you hotter and cause you to toss and turn. Low humidity levels, on the other hand, lead to dry mouth and throat, itching sensations and dry skin. Luckily, there are simple humidifier or dehumidifier solutions available if you’re having issues here.
Finally, most people are readily aware of what happens if there’s too much noise at night: Sleep is harder, or even impossible for some light sleepers. And while you may not have considered it as a primary noise source, the HVAC system may create certain sounds that cause a problem.
This is especially true in older units, which may be wearing down or seeing certain components loosen. However, it can also happen in newer units – you may hear loud banging or sudden noises throughout the day or night. If this is happening regularly, it’s a potential sign that something is wrong in your system, and you should contact one of our HVAC technicians immediately to determine the issue taking place.
For more on the connection between your HVAC system and your sleep quality, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.