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Older Adults Sleep Better When Bedroom Temperature is between 70 and 74 Degrees, New Study Shows

Older Adults Sleep Better When Bedroom Temperature is between 70 and 74 Degrees, New Study Shows

Research reveals optimal temperature range for restful sleep

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According to a new research study conducted by Harvard Medical School and Marcus Institute for Aging Research, older adults sleep best when their bedroom temperatures are between 70 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees Celsius). The study also found that sleep efficiency drops when temperatures surpass 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) or fall below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). The findings highlight the importance of maintaining an optimal temperature for quality sleep, particularly for vulnerable populations.

The Research Findings

  • The peak of restful sleep is within the 70 to 74 degree Fahrenheit range.
  • A 5-to-10 percent drop in sleep efficiency was observed when indoor temperatures rose from 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sleeping in a hot room makes it difficult for the body to lower its core temperature, signaling the brain that it’s time to fall asleep.

Impact on Older Adults

The study tracked 50 participants aged 65 and over in the Boston area. Older adults were chosen for the study due to their increased sensitivity to temperature changes and higher likelihood of experiencing poor sleep. The findings suggest that older adults are more vulnerable to the negative effects of high temperatures on sleep quality.

Importance of Indoor Temperatures

This research distinguishes itself from previous studies by focusing on indoor air temperatures and participants’ own homes. Traditional sleep studies often take place in controlled lab environments. The study aimed to replicate normal living conditions as closely as possible to provide a more accurate representation of real-life sleep experiences.

The Link Between Temperature and Health

Poor sleep has been linked to various health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, motor vehicle accidents, and deficient work performance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-third of U.S. adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep. Considering that nighttime temperatures are rising faster than daytime temperatures, the impact on vulnerable populations, such as older individuals without air conditioning, needs to be addressed.

Tips for Regulating Bedroom Temperature for Better Sleep

  • Stay hydrated during warmer nights.
  • Take a shower before bed to cool down the body.
  • Wear light sleepwear to aid in temperature regulation.
  • Adjust the thermostat or open a window to control the indoor temperature.
  • Ensure your air conditioner is functioning properly, especially during heat waves.
  • Check on older family members and neighbors during hot weather.


The research emphasizes the importance of maintaining an optimal temperature range for quality sleep. As cities around the world continue to warm due to climate change, it is crucial to address the impact of high temperatures on sleep health. Investing in heat-resilient buildings and finding sustainable solutions for cooling down urban areas can contribute to better sleep and overall well-being.

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