Nothing beats the cool relief that comes from a billowing AC on a hot night.
We all know what it is like to kick the covers aside when it gets too hot and, fortunately, most modern homes have the convenience of an AC unit that keeps summer nights bearable.
But on the other hand, there are those nights when you are jolted awake to add an extra blanket to your bed, because the AC breeze is less than pleasant.
With these two quite common but conflicting experiences, one may wonder whether sleeping with the AC on is good or bad.
Unfortunately, the answer is not so black and white.
Either way, it is undeniable that room temperatures have a significant effect on sleep patterns. Also, research has shown there are optimal temperatures that are ideal for sleep.
Is Sleeping with The AC ‘On’ Bad for You?
The short answer – not necessarily. But there are a few things to consider.
The temperature in your bedroom (and consequently your body temperature) can make or break your sleeping pattern but leaving the AC on is not inherently bad for you.
The main problem arises when the temperature is either too high, or too low.
Closer to bedtime, your body starts to release heat, which lowers your body temperature. Therefore, your hands and feet may get warmer as you begin to fall asleep.
If your bedroom is too hot or too cold, this will interfere with your body’s temperature regulation, which will in turn disrupt your sleep.
So, what is the ideal temperature for a perfect night’s rest? Research says that 15.6 – 19.4˚C is the sweet spot.
Your sleep is also affected by the intensity of the air flow around you.
While your chosen AC airflow level may seem pleasant before you fall asleep, this exact airflow may disturb the depth of your sleep overall.
In a joint research study by a Japanese university, it was found that a constant airflow is much more conducive to sleep than an alternating AC that switches on and off according to temperature.
What About Babies Sleeping With AC?
A baby’s sleeping environment does not have to be much different from an adult’s.
It is not as easy for their bodies to regulate temperature but, as long as they are adequately clothed, they should be fine in a room that is 15.6 – 19.4˚C.
Parents may be tempted to put infants to sleep in warmer temperatures, but since their bodies are prone to overheating, it is wiser to keep the room temperature consistent with what you would for an adult.
Overall Effects of AC on Your Sleep
Sleeping with the AC on does indeed affect our sleep, but whether the effect is good or bad is a matter of how high or low you set the temperature.
Also, the amount of airflow that comes out of your AC during the night and whether it is constant or changing at various times also influences your sleep.
When it comes to the effects it has on you specifically, this will depend on your specific environment, your AC system and your personal preferences while sleeping.
Therefore, one partner may have a pleasant sleep with their AC on while the other is constantly woken up. This is where you may need to work together and compromise.
How to Gain a Good Night’s Sleep
If your sleep is restless and involves lots of tossing and turning, it may be a temperature problem.
Even though you may not feel the effects directly, the temperature of your sleeping environment is considered one of the biggest contributors to good or bad sleeping patterns.
Try increasing or decreasing your temperature as needed to find the most comfortable level for you.
To do this you should not only consider your AC temperature and airflow settings but also your bedding material.
For example, in winter you may require warmer flannelette sheets, warm blankets and, or a doona. Whereas in summer you may only need cooler sheets.
When you get your bedding right and depending on the season, you may not even need your AC on at all. If you do, you may also consider using the auto-power-off feature if your AC system has this functionality.
Either way, be aware that as the season changes you will always need adjusting of your bedding and AC settings if you choose to use it. This will be the best way to achieve a good night’s sleep all year round.
For a problematic AC, it is important to always consider getting expert AC services as soon as problems arise.