Unless you have a raging fever, you’re unlikely to give much thought to your core body temperature. Yet it’s important to understand the role of body temperature in your body, since it has a direct impact on something you do for a third of your life … sleep.
The science of sleep is complicated. Many factors determine whether or not you have a good night’s sleep, and one of them is core body temperature.
A BIT OF SCIENCE
Unlike cold-blooded animals, humans generate their own heat through their bodily processes. It’s your brain’s job – and more specifically, the hypothalamus’s job – to regulate all this heat production through a process called thermoregulation.
The hypothalamus carefully monitors your temperature and kicks off processes – dilating or constricting your blood vessels, and making you sweat or shiver – to bring it back within range if you get too hot or cold.
YOUR CHANGING TEMPERATURE
But a controlled body temperature doesn’t mean a constant one. The hypothalamus dials your core body temperature up or down depending on whether you’re meant to be alert and awake, or dropping off to sleep.
Your body temperature follows a circadian rhythm, obeying an internal clock that governs your daily sleep/wake cycle.
You’re at your coolest at about 4 or 5 am. Then your core temperature starts to rise. This is the body’s cue to start waking up. Higher body temperatures go hand-in-hand with wakefulness and alertness. When your body is warmer, you’re more alert. Think about how awake you feel after a workout. Part of the reason for this is increased body temperature.
Your body temperature rises slowly through the day, peaking in the late afternoon or early evening. Then it begins to drop, in preparation for sleep, because under normal conditions – and here’s the important bit – your body must get cooler if you’re going to fall asleep and stay asleep.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COOLER SLEEP
One of the keys to a good night’s sleep is to help your body cool down before bed, and keep it cool while you sleep.
This is why ‘hot sleepers’ experience such broken sleep. The rise in body temperature caused by overheating in bed cues the sleeper to wake during the night. This not only means they tend to sleep less overall, but they also have poorer quality sleep.
Overheating in bed can affect the quality of REM sleep, which is when your brain processes the day’s happenings and consolidates learning through dreams. Being too warm in bed also affects the quality of and time spent in deep sleep, which is when your body repairs itself.
GETTING A COOLER NIGHT’S SLEEP
It’s clear then, that a cool sleep equals a better night’s sleep.
This is why every Protect-A-Bed mattress protector is designed to give sleepers a cooler sleep. A mattress protector shouldn’t be just about keeping a mattress clean and unstained; it should also help sleepers stay cool and asleep.
Every Protect-A-Bed product uses a backing of Miracle Membrane, which, despite being completely waterproof, is 100% porous to air. This breathability ensures a cooler sleep.
Protect-A-Bed also has the Therm-A-Sleep Collection – available in ‘Cloud’, ‘Cool, and ‘Snow’ – which takes cooling one step further. In addition to using Miracle Membrane, this collection employs innovative temperature-regulating fabric for the sleep surface of the mattress protector.
The fibres in the fabric used for the Therm-A-Sleep Collection dissipate heat away from the body and wick moisture from the skin. This has a cooling effect on the skin – Therm-A-Sleep ‘Snow’ actually feels cold to the touch – helping to maintain an even core body temperature throughout the night.
Other tips for staying cool in bed are to sleep with a window open, and use a fan for cross-flow. Choose natural fibres such as cotton or linen for both your sheets and pyjamas. Try keeping your hands and feet outside the covers if you’re hot, as they lose heat readily. And if it won’t get you running to the loo all night, drink a glass of water before bed; staying hydrated helps the body regulate temperature.