Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Do you ever get cold feet when falling asleep? Apparently, cold feet may actually inhibit your ability to fall asleep quickly. A group of Swiss researches conducted a study a while back that found a correlation between the distal-proximal temperature gradient — a fancy term used to measure the blood flow in your hands and feed — and your body’s ability to fall asleep quickly. In other words, the warmer your hands and feet are in the late evening, the faster you’re able to fall asleep.
The researchers learned some other interesting connections between body temperature and sleep: your body temperature predictably increases on its own as it readies for sleep. This change in temperature can be triggered by a number of factors such as whether you’re lying down (which pushes blood and heat out to your fingers and toes), where your body is along its circadian clock (your natural clock starts warming you up for bedtime on its own), and whether it’s dark outside (darkness is a long-time trigger for sleep). And for those of you who like to sleep with the air conditioning on cold, it may actually be due to the fact that a cooler ambient temperature increases the transfer of heat at your extremities.
Some people have suggested that wearing socks can help you fall asleep faster, but many have expressed a general discomfort for wearing extra clothing to bed. Fortunately, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like wearing socks to bed, you can stimulate a similar effect by placing a warm bottle of water at the foot of the bed. In earlier times, many households used metal pans filled with hot coals to warm the bed. Today, plastic has made it much easier (and safer) to achieve the same effect.
If you’d like to read more about the study’s findings, you can find a nice summary of the research here (and it’s free). The text begins at the top right column, and continues down to the second page.
Do you find that you sleep better with warm feet (or socks on)? Do you have any other tips and tricks that help you doze off quicker? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.