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Zone-Controlled Heating and the Science of Sleep

497736998_7b692c5a3f_mAfter a couple weeks of traveling for the holidays and staying with friends and family, I wanted nothing more than a restful night in my own bed. After many nights of staring at the clock wondering why I couldn’t stay asleep it finally occurred to me. The room was way too hot.   The problem with most traditional heating systems is they are impossible to regulate on a room-by-room basis and people have different preferences. Age, weight, metabolism and circulation are just a few of the things that affect a person’s sensitivity to temperature. While I’m perfectly comfortable in a room that’s heated to a mere 63 degrees Fahrenheit, many people would find it chilly and prefer something closer to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.   Many people, myself included, prefer to sleep in a cool room. This is because the body naturally cools down during the second stage of non rapid eye movement sleep. If the body can’t cool properly it becomes difficult to sleep, which makes reaching subsequent sleep stages impossible. A recent Dutch study found that people who slept in environments that allowed their body temperature to drop just .72 degrees Fahrenheit were more likely to stay asleep, thus completing the sleep cycle and gaining a restful, regenerative sleep.   All of the friends and family I stayed with used forced air heating systems. These systems are centrally controlled and hot air is blown throughout the house through a series of ducts and vents. Because of this, there is no way to control the temperature in each room. This of course has many disadvantages and forces homeowners to heat spaces that aren’t even being used to their preferred temperature.   By contrast radiant heating systems allow the temperature of specific zones or rooms to be controlled independently. This allows people with different preferences to adjust the temperature of their space to their liking.   Another consideration is employing the use of a programmable thermostat. In addition to allowing the radiant heaters to be controlled on a room-by-room basis, this thermostat allows the user to determine when to heat and cool the room. For example, the bedroom thermostat can be programmed to drop from 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 62 degrees Fahrenheit an hour before bedtime. This way the room is at a cool, comfortable temperature for sleeping. Then it can bump back up to 72 degrees Fahrenheit an hour before the morning alarm is set to go off so room is already warm when the occupant wakes up. This allows everyone in a household to adjust the temperature to their own liking and get a good nights rest.
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