The effects of local body cooling on thermal comfort and sleep quality in a hot environment were investigated in an experiment with 16 male subjects. Sleep quality was evaluated subjectively, using questionnaires completed in the morning, and objectively, by analysis of electroencephalogram (EEG) signals that were continuously monitored during the sleeping period. Compared with no cooling, the largest improvement in thermal comfort and sleep quality was observed when the back and head (neck) were both cooled at a room temperature of 32°C. Back cooling alone also improved thermal comfort and sleep quality, although the effects were less than when cooling both back and head (neck). Mean sleep efficiency was improved from 84.6% in the no cooling condition to 95.3% and 92.8%, respectively, in these conditions, indicating good sleep quality. Head (neck) cooling alone slightly improved thermal comfort and subjective sleep quality and increased Stage N3 sleep, but did not otherwise improve sleep quality. The results show that local cooling applied to large body sections (back and head) could effectively maintain good sleep and improve thermal comfort in a hot environment.
Keywords: bedroom; local body cooling; physiological parameters; sleep; sleep quality; thermal comfort.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.