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8 Tips for Couples Who Disagree About Sleep Temperature

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Finding a way to be compatible with your sleeping partner is way more important than most people think.

If one of you ends up habitually sleep deprived because of the temperature or some other factor, it will impact their life significantly, and could have an impact on the relationship as well.

While there are many causes of sleep trouble, finding a comfortable temperature for both of you is one of the best ways to help someone with insomnia.

Assuming you’ve ruled out any underlying conditions with your doctor that might lead to sleep problems because of temperature (e.g. hot flashes, chronic night sweats), there are some things you can do to solve your temperature disagreement.

Heated Mattress Covers

This is the priciest solution, but also the most effective by far.

While electric blankets heat as a whole unit, modern heated mattress covers let you control the heat of different zones, so you can heat one side of the bed for the partner who feels too cold.

This is the most flexible solution, and if it doesn’t improve your sleep quality, there might be other problems besides just temperature.

It’s Easier to Warm Up Than Cool Down

If your room temperature is too hot for someone to be comfortable, there’s not really anything you can do.

Studies have shown that most people sleep better in the cold, in a temperature range of 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (about 16-19 Celsius). However, some people sleep hotter than others and need a temperature a few degrees higher.

In most cases, it works best to keep a room temperature of 16-19 C when you’re trying to get to sleep. You can always pile on another blanket if needed.

Going any colder can actually make it harder to sleep, and can be too cold for your face to be comfortable as well.

One final note is that you need to set this temperature ahead of time. If you change your thermostat as you’re going to bed, it will take time to actually reach the temperature you want.

Understand How Your Body Loses Heat

While sleeping, your body has the potential to lose most of its heat through your extremities and face.

The partner who finds the temperature too hot should poke out their feet (and also hands if possible) from underneath the blankets.

As someone who gets quite warm while sleeping, this makes a big difference and can cool you off significantly within just a few minutes.

Use an Extra Sheet to Separate Your Bodies

You might find that you only overheat when touching each other while trying to sleep.

Bodies build up a lot of heat when pressed together, but adding extra layers in-between can help reduce the heat buildup.

What this actually looks like: To do this, you can use 2 sets of sheets on the bed. The person who typically feels cold will sleep under both sheets, while the other person will sleep between the two layers of sheets.

This gives a bit of extra warmth to the partner who needs it, while also providing a bit of separation.

Use a Small Air Cooler or Heater on One Side

While it’s not the best solution in most cases, using a small air cooler or heater on either side that needs it can help.

The reason it’s not a great solution is that you really only feel it on your face, although that’s sometimes all that’s needed.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

Many people have a programmable thermostat and just don’t use it, but they can be really handy in some cases.

If your temperature issues are because one of you is waking up in the middle of the night too hot or cold, a programmable thermostat can help.

Set it to warm up or cool down after the first hour or two after going to sleep in order to have a comfortable temperature all night long.

Stagger Your Sleep Times

If one part of your couple needs the cold to fall asleep, it may be worth it for them to go to sleep 20-30 minutes earlier.

This isn’t always a feasible solution, but is worth considering.

Without the second person, the bed won’t warm up as fast, giving them a better chance at falling asleep.

In addition, the second person could also add on an extra blanket when going to bed, and it’s less likely to be a problem.

Take a Hot or Cold Shower Before Bed

One of the main reasons people can’t sleep after working out is that it raises their core temperature.

For someone who feels too cold at night, raising their core temperature may be a solution.

I still wouldn’t recommend working out before bed because it also has effects on hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that can impact sleep, but you can alter your core temperature with a short shower.

Technically the person who feels too hot can take a cold shower, but that can also shock you awake so it isn’t always ideal depending on the individual’s reaction. Instead, warming yourself up with a hot shower is a pleasant thing to do before hopping into bed, and will provide some extra warmth for 30 minutes or so.


Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.