What's the Optimal Temperature for Baby's Room?

Understand how body and room temperature affect sleep.

There are so many things to consider when you are trying to get your baby to sleep: How to put a sleep schedule in place, how to set up the crib for safe sleeping, and how to choose the right sleepwear, to name a few.

But have you considered the temperature of your baby's room and the part it plays in a peaceful night sleep?

Did you know there is research on the best room temperature for sleep and important information about how our body temperature changes to help us fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up?

Let me give you some insights into creating the optimal sleep environment for Baby as well as the whole family.

Article Continues Below Advertisement

What You Need to Know about Optimal Sleep Temperatures

How Our Bodies Change for Sleep

Our bodies are designed to adjust and regulate our core temperature throughout a 24-hour circadian cycle. As you know, for the first several weeks of life, newborns are not able to regulate their own body temperature. But around two months of age, an infant's internal rhythms are developed.

According to research fellow Dr. Cameron Van den Heuvel, at the University of South Australia's Centre for Sleep Research,

"About one to one and a half hours before falling asleep, the body starts to lose heat from its central core and that brings on increased feelings of tiredness in normal healthy adults."

This lowering of body temperature helps us fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. Then as our body temperature begins to rise in the early morning hours we begin to move into a state of alertness preparing to wake up for the day.

Article Continues Below Advertisement

Best Temperatures for Sleeping

The temperature in our bedrooms aids our bodies in their natural sleep functions. As our brain regulates our core temperature, the room temperature, clothing and covering choices we make impacts our skin, muscles, and appendages. 

Generally speaking, the optimal room temperature for sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and 65-70 for infants and young children. 

These temperatures help to create an environment for a comfortable night sleep. Lower or higher room temperatures can lead to shivering or sweating that can disrupt and influence the quality of REM sleep we achieve.

Overheating Has Been Linked to SIDS

Researchers speculate that when babies are too hot they sleep deeper and are more difficult to rouse, thus less responsive to the natural wake stimulus. Room temperature, clothing, and swaddles play a part in helping Baby to be comfortable and safe at night.

Article Continues Below Advertisement

What to Do If You Don't Have Air Conditioning

  • Dress Baby in lightweight, cotton pajamas or onsies.
  • Use a box fan in the window pointed toward the outside, pulling the hot air out of the house.
  • Adjust a ceiling fan to spin counter clockwise to pull the air up and away, while also circulating the air in the room.
  • If possible, keep the house closed up and the curtains drawn during the hottest part of the day, and as the temperature drops, open the windows to get a cross breeze.
  • As long as it is safe to do so, keep windows open at night for air circulation.
  • Do not point a fan directly at the crib.

Creating the optimal sleep environment may take a little trial and error. When you understand the most favorable room temperature, what your baby's body is doing to ready her for sleep and what she needs to help her regulate her body temperature, you are more equipped to get her surroundings just right.

Everyone is different, so find what works best for you family and sleep well this summer.

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

Facebook Comments