Sleeping is crucial for good health. But, a new study showed that sleeping in a colder room significantly increases our wellbeing. Colder bedrooms can subtly transform your brown fat tissue (good fat) into bigger energy consumption and metabolism, even during the daytime. Up to recently, scientists considered that elders do not have brown fat, but during the last few years, a very tiny amount, in the size of a teaspoon, in the neck and in the upper part of the back in many elderly people was found. Moreover, this is a very important brown fat, unlike white fat, since it is metabolically active. What’s more, mice experiments showed that it is necessary for the sugar to be removed from the bloodstream so that they could burn calories and maintain inner body temperature.
A similar process occurs in people. A new study, published in July 2015, by the American Diabetes Association in collaboration with the National Institute of Health, researched the influence of controlled climate conditions in bedrooms where 5 young men volunteers slept for few months. During the day, the young men lived their usual lives, but in the nighttime they would go to sleep in the institute. All meals, including lunch, were provided in order to maintain proper calories intake. They slept under ventilated light-weighted sheets.
During the first month, the temperature of the room was 24◦ since the scientists considered that neutral temperature would not encourage body reaction. The next month, the temperature was lowered down to 19◦, because the researchers considered that it would stimulate the brown fat tissue in small amounts (without causing body tremble which is a standard reaction to lower temperatures.). The following month, the temperature was again increased to 24◦ in order to stop all the effects from the cold room, and in the end, during the last month; the temperature was increased to 27◦. During the blood sugar experiment, the insulin levels and intake of daily calories were noted, as well as the amount of brown fat after every month end.
Cold temperature, as the research showed, changed the volunteers’ bodies significantly. The most surprising thing was that after several weeks of sleeping in the 19◦ room, the men doubled the volume of their brown fat. Their sensitivity to insulin, which was under the influence of sugar changes in the blood, increased. The changes were mild, but significant according to Francesco S. Celi, one of the researchers and professor at the Virginia Commonwealth Institute.
“These are all healthy, young men, but the fact that they slept in the cold room, provided them with metabolic advantages in comparison to the others and these changes could significantly lower their risk for diabetes and other metabolic processes with time. Also, they burnt few calories during sleeping in the cold room. An, the metabolic improvements would disappear after several weeks of sleeping in the room with 27◦. What’s more, the men had lesser metabolic improvements than before the first scans when they slept in this room.”
“In order to significantly stimulate your metabolism, lower the temperature in your bedrooms. I also sleep in a colder room and my office temperature has another benefit as well- shortens meetings. It is obvious that lowering the temperatures in our surroundings improves certain mechanisms which were not discussed or researched until now.” said Professor Celi.
Sleeping in a colder room or showering with lukewarm water creates a constant increase of the inner body temperature which contributes to the strengthening of our immune system and speeds up the metabolism during the periods when we relax such as sleeping, showering or bathing.