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Your Bed(ding) is a Microclimate

by | Bedding, Better Sleep, Health

A Microclimate

Did you know that as we go to sleep, we unconsciously create a ‘microclimate’ that helps us temperature regulate?

One study we looked at, examined the “microclimate” of your bedding environment. OK, what’s that mean? Basically, the room temperature is one thing, but the temperature inside your bedding is another.

The human body has an average temperature of 98.6 F or 37 degrees C.

And before we get started…we know you probably already figured this out, but please take the advice of a health care professional before changing your routine! We’re mattress builders who like to learn and write about sleep! We are not health care professionals.

Thermoneutrality

Definition of thermoneutrality : a state of thermal balance between an organism and its environments such that bodily thermoregulatory mechanisms are inactive

So, in order to comfortably maintain our optimal body temperature, our sleep bedding microclimate must be in the range of 30°C the Netherlands based study found. The optimal “thermoneutrality zone” is about 30 degrees celsius, says the study.

This is the temperature in your bedding where most people find a balance of not having to heat their body, and remaining comfortable. Thermoneutrality was kept stable with ambient air temperature from 19-22 degrees C.

Different people have different needs in respect of achieving comfort in their sleep environment. You likely know this from sleeping with a partner who may sleep “hot” or “cold”. Colder ambient temperatures tend to have a more disruptive affect on people, vs warmer air temperatures.

Moisture

Moisture and humidity can have an impact on sleep comfort. As little 3% to 5% added moisture can be enough to trigger sensations of discomfort and dampness. We recommend a wool mattress protector to help draw moisture away from your sleep surface and to regulate temperature.

In a UK Imperial College of London study of mice and thermoregulation there is a cycle which occurs throughout the night. Core temperature drops from sleep onset. Other mammals such as cats, chimpanzees and humans all thermoregulate during sleep.

Humans do this unconsciously be increasing their exposed area as ambient temperature rises. This study found that we attempt to establish skin microclimates of between 31- 35°C.

thermoregulation sleep

Figure 1. Sleep preparation is a thermoregulatory behaviour (A) shows typical nesting behaviour in four species. Mouse nesting (Mus musculus, C57Bl6/J), house cat (Felis catus) curling up, nest building in the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) and bedding (Homo sapiens). (B) Example of circadian temperature cycle over 6 days in a male C57Bl6/J mouse. (C) Average of transitions from the same mouse over 16 consecutive days 2 h before and after the light change. (D) Minimum temperature (n = 21) during light phase compared to minimum (n = 21) and maximum temperature (n = 16) in the dark phase, plotted as change from zero for a group of male C57Bl6/J mice. Data shown in (B–D) is from (Harding et al., unpublished). All images used with permission or copyright clearance. The nesting chimpanzee photo credit: Kathelijne Koops. The nesting cat photo credit: Isobel Harding, the sleeping human is available under CC0-1.0 universal and the nesting mouse is adapted from Deacon (2006). Content Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2019.00336/full

 

Bedding

It’s clear that our bedding is important in the optimal thermoregulation of our bodies, which in turn helps us get a good night’s sleep!

How is your bedding affecting your sleep? Most people generally have a sense that quality bedding is important to quality sleep.

We wrote a post on bedding and its affect on sleep a while back. It seem the research indicates that pillows and “satisfaction with their bedding” had more of an effect on sleep for adolescents than did income, age, sex or other factors.

Warm Bath Effect

There’s also evidence that points to warming up before bed can help you fall asleep faster, and achieve a deeper sleep. The trick is to warm up 1 to 8 hours before bed.

It is our hope that this post raises your awareness about the small details which could help you get the best night’s sleep possible. Quality sleep. Better life!

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