It’s difficult to sleep through a hot muggy summer without the help of a functional air conditioner. But your full night's sleep can also be ruined if the AC made the air in your room super chilly and you keep reaching for more blankets.
How does a wrong air conditioner thermostat setting rob you of your well-deserved shut-eye? Is there a best air conditioner temperature for sleeping? Isn’t it bad for your health if you sleep with the AC on all through nighttime?
These “burning” questions are what we will address in this article. If you want to have the best sleep tonight, keep on reading.
Air Conditioning Temperature Affects Your Body While Sleeping
Sleep is one of the most basic necessities of all humans. It is as important as food, water, shelter, and clothing. Proper and sufficient rest benefits our brain functions, helps keep our emotions under control, makes it easier for us to recover from mental and physical stress, and helps us fight off diseases.
But we don’t need science to tell us how important sleep is to our daily lives. Without a night of good sleep, we find ourselves cranky, not able to focus, and extremely tired throughout the day.
In locations with high temperatures and high humidity, most people take advantage of using air conditioners to manage their sleeping environment. Rightly so because plenty of scientific studies prove that thermal regulation is one of the key factors that impact the quality of our sleep.
According to research published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, too hot or too cold environments result in “increased wakefulness and decreased rapid eye movement sleep and slow-wave sleep.”
Setting the medical jargon aside, it will be very difficult for us to get a good night sleep or have any kind of quality sleep if we don’t have the right indoor air temperature. Why is that?
Sleep experts reveal that as we are about to fall asleep, our body releases the melatonin hormone which causes our body temperature to go down. Melatonin production initiates as the room gets darker, which explains why a cool and unlit room is conducive for dozing, and why is it so hard to get a proper snooze in a brightly-lit room on a hot summer day at noon.
So if the room temperature of where you sleep is so warm that you become sweaty and irritable, this would disrupt the natural process of falling asleep. To be fair though, the same is true when your air conditioner is set too low.
We can learn from these scientific facts presented that the room temperature where resting takes place significantly impacts the quality of our sleep. Sleep therapists also suggested that there is an optimal sleeping temperature that you can reach to get the best sleeping climate.
What better home device can help you manage your indoor air temperature than your trusty air conditioner? But, what really is the best temperature for sleeping, if there’s any?
The Ideal Sleeping Temperature to Set Your AC
The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends setting your air conditioner at 78 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to be comfortably cool indoors, but also don’t want to pay for soaring energy bills the entire summer Several other sources mimic this DOE’s recommendation of best aircon temperature setting for daytime activities of 78°F, some only varying between 72 to 75 degrees.
Since it is well-known that the air conditioning system uses up a lot of energy, this suggestion from the DOE is leaning more on energy-saving rather than comfort. This comes as no surprise as the Department of Energy is the authority on the government’s policy and its effects on the environment.
It is a whole different story when it comes to the ideal room temperature for sleeping. We have to take the word of sleep specialists and also the published studies on beneficial sleeping habits and potential sleep disorders to glean the ideal sleeping temperature.
Medical News Today, a well-established site for health news and information proposed that the best air conditioning temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees F (18.3 degrees Celcius). However, the health source acknowledges that people may vary in their preferences so anywhere in the range of 60 to 67°F (15.6 and 19.4°C) is still considered an ideal temperature.
The logic behind setting your air conditioner level this low is to coordinate it with the circadian rhythm or your body’s biological clock. This internal system is responsible for regulating your eating and digestion patterns, as well as the relationship between your sleep/wake cycle and your core body temperature.
So as soon as you climb into your bed at night after a tiring day, setting your AC to 65°F (or anywhere between 60 to 67°F, whichever level you are most comfortable with) will help you to achieve the ideal body temperature favorable to sleep quickly and deeply.
However, a new concern comes into play: If I want a completely restful sleep, is it necessary to keep the AC on all night? Aren’t there any risks in using cooling devices for too long, especially while sleeping?
Is It Safe to Sleep with the Air Conditioner Running All Night?
Now that we know from experts that there is indeed an ideal AC temperature for sleep time, we want to have the maximum advantage from that, won’t we? If you are more concerned about the cool comfort the AC brings and less troubled by the amount of energy it consumes, it should not be a problem, right?
Well, there are opposing views on whether it is okay to sleep with the AC on all night.
A 2017 research from Toyohashi University of Technology implied that while most people feel a certain level of comfort at the beginning stages of sleeping with the air conditioner on, they found that “some AC settings may have an unintentional negative impact on sleep quality.”
Other sources claim that running the AC all night could sap out all the moisture from the air in your room, leaving your body dehydrated and your nasal passages, skin, and throat dry.
Meanwhile, much more recent scientific references such as the Medical News Today article cited earlier have no objections about snoozing with the AC on. In fact, the 2021 write-up mentions that having the AC running on a hot summer evening may help prevent heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related illnesses.
Some people balanced it off by keeping the AC on for the whole evening but setting it to a sleep mode function, say, after midnight when the natural temperature is already low.
How to Maintain the Best Sleeping Temperature in Your Home
A word of caution, though. While having the best AC temperature when sleeping is essential, the quality of our sleep may still be affected negatively by the state of our cooling systems.
Meaning to say, to get the perfect sleeping climate, your AC must be properly and regularly cleaned and maintained by a qualified technician. Why is this necessary?
Your heating and cooling devices do not just influence the level of temperature in your home, but they also significantly impact the quality of indoor air.
This is specifically true about the AC filters that filtrate the air from common pollutants such as dust, dirt, mold, pet dander, and the like. If neglected for some time, dust and dirt buildup can clog the AC and recirculate the air impurities to your home.
Imagine your body, particularly your respiratory system, being exposed nightly to such irritants from your AC as you sleep. Also, if your AC does not get its required annual maintenance, it may fail to regulate the temperature and manage the humidity.
Your air conditioner plays a huge and important role in the quality of your sleep. But besides setting your thermostat to the ideal sleeping climate, you also need to pay close attention to your AC’s regular and proper cleaning and maintenance.