Sleep environments and sleep physiology: A review

J Therm Biol. 2018 Dec:78:192-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2018.09.012. Epub 2018 Oct 5.


Sleep loss impairs task performance and post-physical activity recovery, cognitive performance and mood, heightens fatigue and decreases vigour; poor sleep quality impairs decision-making, the speed and accuracy of task performance, and post-exercise recovery. Sleep time and quality are affected by age, psychological and physiological conditions, culture and environmental factors. Skin temperature, rapid temperature change and sweating during sleep can significantly reduce sleep quality. Hence, the thermal properties of bedding and sleepwear, both in steady-state and transient ambient temperature conditions, are logically important factors. Research to date on sleeping thermal microclimates and their effect on sleep quality is scarce. This present review covers the fundamental elements of human sleep, highlighting physically active people, such as athletes, and the influence of sleepwear and bedding on sleep thermal microclimates, as well as the research methods that have been and could be used in this field. This review identifies opportunity for future research direction and approaches to understanding thermal environments that may support better human sleep.

Keywords: Bedding; Human thermal physiology; Post-exercise recovery; Sleep; Sleep research methods; Thermal microclimate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beds / standards
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Microclimate
  • Sleep / physiology*