Trouble Sleeping? Play it Cool!
By Dr. Christine Louden
Like light, temperature directly influences our internal clock, responsible for sleep onset and duration.
Studies show that our core temperature needs to drop between 2-3℉ for optimal sleep. Most people know that sleeping in a cool room can help improve rest. But did you know that you have an even more powerful tool in your home? A warm/hot shower or bath taken about 90 minutes before bed can help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
The hot water allows your body to cool your core temperature. The warmth causes the blood from your core to come to the surface of your body, where the air dissipates heat. The net effect is a drop in core temperature. In one study, participants fell asleep 50% faster after a warm shower.
Follow this easy routine for a better night’s rest:
1. Pick a regular bedtime:
Going to sleep at the same time every night improves sleep architecture (the healthy, normal structure of sleep).
2. Create a bedtime routine:
Get the worry out: If you wake up with a buzzing brain, or can’t fall asleep due to worry, get a notebook and write down your anxieties 90 minutes before bed (right before your hot shower or bath). Feel free to make a “to do “ list of goals. Then remind yourself that it’s all in the book--you don’t have to keep it in your mind--and put the book away. (You can always look at it tomorrow!)
Drop your core temp: 90 minutes before bed, take a hot shower or bath for at least 10 minutes. A few drops of lavender in your soap or shampoo can help you to relax.
A hot shower in the morning can actually impair your nightly sleep pattern. This is because our biological clock includes a natural rise in body temperature during the day when we are supposed to be alert and awake. As explained, a hot shower drops our core temperature. Try a cold shower in the morning instead. The cold will stimulate a natural rise in body temp that will help you be more focused and alert during the day, and will help you fall asleep at night.
Bloom on Zoom: "Healthful Rest: Natural Strategies for Better Sleep"
Join Dr. Elisheva Neffinger for "Healthful Rest: Natural Strategies for Better Sleep," our next Bloom on Zoom, on Thursday, September 23rd from 12pm-1pm EST! This month we will highlight tips for better sleep, discuss sleep hygiene, suggest herbs and supplements for better slumber, explore how overall health, diet, and lifestyle decisions impact quality of rest, and more. The webinar will include a Q&A, and a series of fun polls, to address all of your sleep-related questions. Visit the workshops page of our website for the Zoom link.
For more information on sleep and temperature check out the following resources:
● Interview with Dr. Matthew Walker on the “Huberman Lab” podcast:
● Interview with Dr. Matthew Walker on the “Found My Fitness” podcast: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/matthew-walker