PARIS: According to the United States’ Sleep Foundation the optimal temperature for sleep is around 18-20°C. But does this recommendation apply to the entire population? Not necessarily.
And while the recommendations note that infants may benefit from a slightly warmer bedroom, a new study finds that they aren’t the only demographic that may have different needs.
The new research focuses on the sleep patterns of the elderly, and lifts the veil on the ideal nighttime temperature for them to enjoy a restful sleep.
In addition to the need to sleep in total darkness and quiet, the ambient temperature at night is one of the key factors in getting a good night’s sleep.
That’s why a team of American researchers set out to determine the ideal temperature for promoting sleep in the elderly. And for good reason: this specific population can be particularly deprived of rest, which can potentially impact their health and well-being.
For the purposes of their study, the researchers used a sample of 50 community-dwelling older adults, whose sleep duration, efficiency and restlessness over an extended period were analysed.
Published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, their research shows that sleep quality is said to be “optimal” when the bedroom temperature is between 20-25°C, and declines as the ambient air cools or warms.
In detail, the researchers noted a 5-10% drop in sleep efficiency when the temperature rose from 25-30°C – which in any case seems particularly high.
However, the authors of the study point out that there were significant differences between the participants in terms of the ideal bedroom temperature.
“These results highlight the potential to enhance sleep quality in older adults by optimizing home thermal environments and emphasising the importance of personalised temperature adjustments based on individual needs and circumstances,” explains Harvard Medical School researcher Amir Baniassadi in a press release.
While these results may indeed lead to new recommendations for promoting restful sleep in the elderly, they also testify to the need to adapt in an era of increasingly frequent and intense heatwaves, potentially impacting people’s sleep.
“Additionally, the study underscores the potential impact of climate change on sleep quality of older adults, particularly those with lower socioeconomic status,” concludes Amir Baniassadi.
This finding has prompted the researchers to focus their future work on the influence of climate change on the sleep of this specific population, with a view to highlighting new solutions designed to promote a sleep-friendly environment.