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“Please don’t blame [poor sleep on] changes in the weather–it is never too hot or too cold to sleep well” (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, page 226).
So I am reading along through HSHHC and come across this line–and I am totally surprised. I obviously have a strong disagreement with this statement–just read my post Some Like it Hot–Sleep That Is. I kind of think most people would agree with me–I think most of us have been either too hot or too cold at least one night of our lives and we didn’t sleep well that night. In most post linked above, I included this info:
“Experts agree the temperature of your sleeping area and how comfortable you feel in it affect how well and how long you snooze. Why? “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature — the temperature your brain is trying to achieve — goes down,” says H. Craig Heller, PhD, professor of biology at Stanford University, who wrote a chapter on temperature and sleep for a medical textbook. “Think of it as the internal thermostat.” If it’s too cold, as in Roy’s case, or too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point.
That mild drop in body temperature induces sleep. Generally, Heller says, “if you are in a cooler [rather than too-warm] room, it is easier for that to happen.” But if the room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up, says Ralph Downey III, PhD, chief of sleep medicine at Loma Linda University…” (source)
Now, I think Weissbluth is a sleep expert–no doubt. So then I think, why would he make such a statement? I think the answer lies in the context of the statement. In this section of the book, he is talking about the importance of not overstimulating a child (which he defines as keep up too long). He is cautioning parents not to keep baby up too long and if you do, baby won’t sleep well. He then makes his statement to not blame the temperature. I think (my interpretation) what he is trying to impress is the importance of waketime length and to not fall into a trap of blaming what isn’t at fault. He does make several of contradictory statements throughout the book (like, Never wake a sleeping baby versus wake baby if needed to preserve future naps), so he will make a strong statement in order to make a point without using qualifiers and caveats. My assumption is that this statement falls into that category.
I think temperature is very important to consider for good sleep. We need to be dressed appropriately for the temperature in the room. As things have warmed up this summer, we have had to remove several of Brayden’s blankets he loved to sleep with during the winter. When he gets too hot, he has night terrors. You obviously aren’t sleeping well during a night terror.
In the end, despite this one-liner in this book I respect, I still stand by my belief that temperature is an important factor to consider with good sleep.