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Central Heat and Your Sleep

Do you find it hard during the colder months to find a comfortable setting on your furnace at bedtime? Often times, when we sleep with the furnace on, we wake up through out the night hot and thirsty, feeling for the thermostat on the wall trying to drop the temperature so we can cool off and slip back to sleep. Why is that? We were just so comfortable laying in bed with our favorite fuzzy crazy cat socks and heated blanket binging Law and Order behind heavy eyelids. What was once so comfortable, ends up feeling like a sauna session after a day in the dessert! Hot, thirsty, dry itchy skin, sweaty….everywhere.

Well what you may not know is that the human body actually lowers its internal temperature during the beginning stages of sleep and as it draws closer to the morning hours it warms back up. Why does it do that? We were just so perfectly cozy under those 5 quilts! Well, our brain temperature has to be a little bit lower than the rest of our body during sleep to help our Circadian Rhythm function most efficiently. The circadian rhythm is the 24 hour internal clock system in our bodies that regulate things like our sleep wake cycle. This function is controlled by the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Just a degree can interrupt this function causing irregularities in your sleep patterns.

So as the furnace kicks on and heats up through out the night, it simulates the natural process of the circadian rhythm. Closer to the mornings this function warms our bodies back up, which is where our sleep is interrupted because our bodies naturally warm up to tell us when it is time to wake up.

Not very many people are aware that temperature has a lot to do with sleep disorders as well. For example, people with insomnia typically have a higher body temperature when they first go to bed which is why it is so difficult for their hypothalamus to regulate the circadian rhythm correctly. Just a half of a degree can throw your patterns off especially if you suffer from a sleep disorder such as insomnia.

So if you have been having troubles sleeping during seasons where you have to run the furnace, try setting it to 65 degrees or lower about 30 minutes to an hour before your typical bedtime routine. You will be surprised to find out that this will help you tremendously during the night. You may even wake up feeling more alert and well as compared to nights you struggled to adjust to the furnace each time it kicked on!