Do Cold Temperatures Improve Sleep?
Recently by Joseph Mercola: Sounds
During Sleep Can Boost Your Memory
have found that in general, the optimal temperature for sleep is
quite cool, around 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that
fall too far below or above this range can lead to restlessness.
in this range help facilitate the decrease in core body temperature
that in turn initiates sleepiness. A growing number of studies are
finding that temperature regulation plays a role in many cases of
have shown, for example, that insomniacs tend to have a warmer core
body temperature than normal sleepers just before bed, which leads
to heightened arousal and a struggle to fall asleep.
sleepers, a cool room and a hot-water bottle placed at the feet,
which rapidly dilates blood vessels and therefore actually helps
lower core temperature, can push the internal thermostat to a better
York Times August 3, 2009
a nation of insomniacs. At least 25 percent of Americans say they
frequently have problems getting a complete and restful nights
sleep and at least 40 million Americans suffer each year from chronic,
long-term sleep disorders.
human beings spend about one-third of their lives asleep, youd
think wed all be pros at it! In reality, insomnia is the most
common sleep complaint in the United States and about 3040
percent of adults have insomnia symptoms in any given year!
This is why
I absolutely love sharing simple tips like the one above, as giving
some thought to your bedroom temperature may help you get a good
is So Important to Sleep
your body's heat distribution system is strongly linked
to sleep cycles. Even lying down increases sleepiness by redistributing
heat in your body from the core to the periphery.
When you sleep,
your bodys internal temperature actually drops to its lowest
level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists
believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep,
since it mimics your bodys natural temperature drop.
This is also
why taking a warm bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime may also
help you sleep; it increases your core body temperature, and when
it abruptly drops when you get out of the bath, it signals your
body that you are ready for sleep.
no set consensus as to what temperature will help you sleep the
best, in most cases any temperature above
75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will interfere with
within that range, many factors can influence which temperature
is best for you including, of course, your choice of pajamas and
bedding. Most people, however, will find they sleep best by keeping
the temperature in their bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F and
perhaps even a bit lower than that.
while a cool room and a lower core temperature may help you sleep
better, cold hands and feet will not. Because blood flow is a prime
method of distributing heat evenly throughout your body, if your
extremities are cold it could be a sign of poor blood flow, which
results in sleeplessness.
for this is simple: put on a pair of warm socks or place a hot water
bottle near your feet.
Wrong and You Will INCREASE Your Risk of Cancer
more specifically, making sure theres none of it in your bedroom.
sleeping patterns are actually governed by light, and any source
of light even one as tiny as the green glow from your clock
radio could be interfering with your ability to sleep, and
more importantly, your long term health and risk of developing cancer.
typically thought that your biological
clock is what tells you when its time to wake up or go
to sleep, light and dark signals actually control your biological
clock. To get more specific, a part of your brain called the Suprachiasmatic
Nucleus (SCN) a group of cells in your hypothalamus
controls your biological clock. And the cells that make up your
SCN respond to light and dark signals.
travels through your eyes optic nerve to your SCN, where it
signals your bodys clock that its time to wake up. Light
also signals your SCN to initiate other processes associated with
being awake, such as raising your body temperature and producing
hormones like cortisol.
when your eyes signal to your SCN that its dark outside, your
body will begin to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep
and radically decreases your risk of cancer. There are many studies
on this powerful association. The more your sleep is disrupted by
light pollution, the lower your melatonin levels and the greater
your risk of developing cancer becomes.
is secreted primarily in your brain and at night it triggers a host
of biochemical activities, including a nocturnal reduction in your
body's estrogen levels. Its thought that chronically decreasing
your melatonin production at night as occurs when youre
exposed to nighttime light increases your risk of developing
make sure you sleep in a pitch-dark room. If you need a light to
go to the bathroom at night then use a red flashlight as that is
a wavelength that will allow you to see but will not interfere with
your body sees the smallest bit of non-red light at night, it will
virtually shut off the production of melatonin, and dont think
that popping a pill will counteract this. Remember it is FAR better
to let your body produce the perfect amount of melatonin rather
than you second guess it and swallow a pill.
I sleep in a room that is so dark its even pitch black at
noon. You can achieve this in your own bedroom by:
your bedroom door if light comes through it, and even putting
a towel along the base to prevent light from seeping in
rid of your electric clock radio (or at least covering it up at
night lights of any kind
all light off at night (even if you get up to go to the bathroom)
this includes the TV!
Can You do to Improve Your Sleep?
get about 25 percent less sleep than they did a century ago
and this isnt just a matter of having less energy.
sleep impacts your levels of thyroid and stress hormones, which
in turn can affect your memory and immune system, your heart and
metabolism, and much more. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to:
So how much
sleep do you need to be getting? Generally speaking, adults need
to get between six and nine hours of sleep a night. But there are
definitely exceptions. Some people can, in fact, function well on
as few as five hours a night, while others need up to 10.
You may also
need more sleep during times of illness or emotional stress, or
during the winter months. And pregnant women often need several
hours more sleep than usual during their first three months of pregnancy.
A good rule
of thumb to follow is that if you feel tired when you wake up, you
probably arent getting enough sleep. Most of us have set times
that we need to wake up in the morning, so getting more sleep, for
most of us, means going to bed earlier.
If you find
that youre not waking up feeling refreshed, its a good
idea to devote some attention to revamping your sleeping habits.
Ive put together a list of practical solutions to help you
do this in my 33
Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep, which include:
- Avoid before-bed
snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood
sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low
(hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back
- Sleep in
complete darkness or as close as possible. If there is even the
tiniest bit of light in your room it can disrupt your circadian
rhythm and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin.
- No TV right
before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom or even
out of the house, completely. It is too stimulating to your brain
and it will take longer to fall asleep.
your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can
disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin,
and may have other negative effects as well.
- Get to
bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly our adrenals,
do a majority of their recharging or recovering between the hours
of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.
- Avoid alcohol.
Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short
lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable
to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into
the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.
- Eat a high-protein
snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan
need to produce melatonin and serotonin.
emotional hurdles to sleep using the Meridian
Tapping Technique (MTT). MTT can help balance your body's
bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that
are contributing to the insomnia at a very deep level. The results
are typically long lasting and the improvement is remarkably rapid.
© 2009 Dr. Joseph Mercola