Send to

Choose Destination
Handb Clin Neurol. 2018;156:341-351. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63912-7.00020-5.

Body temperature and sleep.

Author information

Research Service, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and Department of Medicine and Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, United States. Electronic address:


Sleep in mammals is accompanied by a decrease in core body temperature (CBT). The circadian clock in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus regulates daily rhythms in both CBT and arousal states, and these rhythms are normally coupled. Reductions in metabolic heat production resulting from behavioral quiescence and reduced muscle tone along with changes in autonomic nervous system activity and thermoeffector activity contribute to the sleep-related fall in CBT. Reductions in sympathetic tone to the peripheral vasculature resulting in heat loss through the skin are reflected in a sleep-related increase in distal skin temperature that is a prominent feature of sleep onset in humans. Within a sleep episode, patterns of autonomic nervous system and thermoeffector activity and the ability to defend against heat and cold exposure differ during nonrapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep. Anatomic and functional integration of the control of arousal states and thermoregulation occur in the preoptic/anterior hypothalamus. Subsets or warm-sensing neurons in the preoptic/anterior hypothalamus implicated in CBT regulation are spontaneously activated during sleep onset and NREM sleep compared to waking and may underlie sleep-related changes in autonomic nervous system and thermoeffector activity.


arousal state regulation; body temperature; median preoptic nucleus; preoptic hypothalamus; sleep; thermoregulation; ventrolateral preoptic area

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center