How to fall asleep – Cool It!

Bodies cool down while we prepare to nod off. Our blood vessels expand, allowing heat to escape our bodies quicker. Body temperatures, which fluctuate by about 1 degree over the course of 24 hours, will bottom out in the wee hours of the morning.

People tend to sleep best in colder rooms, between 60 and 67 degrees

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Sleepy, from Maui’s Story by Peggy

Sleep researchers know that right before you fall asleep, your body temperature starts to drop; in the deepest stages of sleep, your body is at its coolest, about one or two degrees below normal. Some scientists believe cooler temperatures cause sleepiness, and although the pre-slumber cooling process happens naturally, there are a few things you can do to help it along:

  • Take a warm bath right before bed.  When you leave the tub, your body temperature rapidly cools, triggering that sleepy feeling.

  • Drink a warm beverage – works the same way as a warm bath.

  • Turn on a fan.

  • Stick your foot out of the covers.

But why the foot, specifically? The skin surfaces of both our hands and feet are unique – they’re hairless and contain specialized vascular structures that help with heat loss. Specifically, the hands and feet contain blood vessels called the arteriovenous anastomoses, which — coupled with the lack of hair on the bottoms of your feet — are perfectly designed to help dissipate body heat.

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12 thoughts on “How to fall asleep – Cool It!

  1. Very COOL post. Wonder if the lower body temperature supports oxygen levels. My respiratoy/sleep specialist suggested that my sleep apnea, feelings of fuzzy-headedness and decreased energy may be due to low oxygen levels during sleep which also contribute to lesser periods of deep/REM sleep.

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    • Duffy’s Dad Rick,
      That’s an interesting premise – lower body temp supporting oxygen levels. My guess is you are correct – during certain medical procedures they cool the body down. Also, the best preserved remains of ancient animals are found under mountain ice packs.
      Perhaps you should move to California where we are at sea level instead of Colorado!
      jw

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