This Is the Temperature You Should Set Your Thermostat to in Winter

Setting your thermostat to 68°F will save you money and help you sleep better.

young white man in a winter coat adjusting the thermostat in his home
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"What temperature should I set my thermostat to in winter?" This is a question that comes up every year as soon as the outside temperature drops, and it's time to crank up the heat. And while personal preference tends to be split, the good news is that there is an ideal temperature in the winter both for your health and for your heating bill.

According to Varun Kohli, head of sustainability and analytics at BuroHappold Engineering, comfort and personal preference are important factors when deciding what temperature you should be setting your thermostat to. However, he says that for better health and energy conservation, you should consider wearing warmer clothes and keeping the temperature low—at around 68°F.

Why this specific temperature? According to the National Sleep Foundation, your body temperature falls as you sleep, reaching its lowest level around 5 a.m., and climbing slightly as morning begins. If you're sleeping in a room that is too hot or too cold, that might end up disrupting your sleep cycle. In fact, in a significant 2008 study in Sleep Medicine Reviews, one of the factors that affected people's sleep patterns the most was improper regulation of body temperature.

And the benefits of setting your thermostat to 68°F don't end with better sleep. According to the United States Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10 percent on your heating bill if you set your thermostat to this specific temperature while you're awake, and lower the temperature while you're asleep or not at home. Cha-ching!

Setting your thermostat to 68°F isn't necessary for everyone, though. According to Mark Sullivan, an architect and partner at integrated design firm JZA+D, the ideal temperature setting ultimately depends on the ages of the people living in the house, on the house itself, and on the type of heating system in the house.

"Growing up in Massachusetts, my parents kept the thermostat at between 60°F and 63°F during the day and 50°F and 55°F at night during the winter months. Much can be said for good sleeping and health in those ranges, but this temperature range is generally considered too cold for infants and the elderly," he explains.

According to the New York State Department of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a room temperature of at least 64°F for healthy people. For households with very old, very young, or very sick individuals, a minimum temperature of 68°F is ideal.

If you are a healthy individual with plenty of warm blankets lying around, then feel free to set your thermostat in the low- to mid-60s this winter. Otherwise, 68°F is the ideal temperature for good health, optimal sleep, and low heating bills. And for more seasonal home advice, here are 25 Amazing Home Upgrades to Do This Winter.

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