This was the year that everyone collectively realized that getting a good night of sleep is the secret ingredient to staying slim and feeling great. I myself tried Gwyenth Paltrow’s clean sleeping routine for a few weeks and was baffled by how much setting a consistent bedtime and shutting down all of my electronics an hour before bed contributed to my overall sense of well-being. But now a new study by Dr. Asit Mishra of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has revealed that there’s one little thing that anyone can do that will majorly help them sleep: simply opening a bedroom door or window.
“We spend nearly a third of our life in the bedroom environment, but the air quality in our sleeping environment is often overlooked,” Mishra told Reuters. ““Imagine this: you are in a confined space and have limited ability to adjust the situation (since you are asleep) while you are possibly surrounded by pollutants. This is how things are in bed, covered under duvets or a blanket.”
To conduct the study, Mishra asked 17 volunteers to sleep with the window or door open on one night and to keep them closed on another night (they each had their own room, and were asked to abstain from alcohol and caffeine beforehand, as that could influence the results). The participants wore armbands that measured skin temperature, heat flux, bed temperature and skin moisture levels, as well as a sensor that monitored their movements in bed. The researchers also monitored the carbon dioxide levels, temperature, background noise and humidity in the rooms on both nights.
What they found was that when the doors and windows were open, there was more background noise, but lower carbon dioxide levels (the humidity was about the same). The lower levels of CO2 led to better sleep and less restlessness, as well as lower skin and bed temperatures. The consensus: if you want a better night’s sleep, crack open a window, and if it’s too cold, settle for the door (or buy a weighted blanket if you want to be extra trendy).
This isn’t the first study that indicates opening a window leads to a better night of rest, either. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, a NYC physician often featured on Goop, “lowering ambient temperature sends a feedback signal to the brain’s sleep center that it’s nighttime, and that it needs to release more sleep hormones,” noting that a temperature of 60-64 degrees is best for most. And for more tips on getting your best sleep ever, brush up on these 11 Doctor-Approved Secrets For Falling Asleep Faster.
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