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Sleep & Rest

A Colder Room Can Decrease Insomnia, Study Finds

Insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic is a condition which affects the ability of someone to either fall asleep or stay asleep and results in symptoms like daytime tiredness and sometimes even severe fatigue. But there are a variety of other serious symptoms that go along with this condition, including anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating at work or in school, and even emotional problems like depression. To make matters worse, insomnia can be difficult to treat. However, new research might be able to uncover natural ways — such as sleeping in a colder room — to help improve the quality of your sleep.

One of the underlying causes of insomnia is the failure of the body to drop its core temperature

The new research on insomnia is out of the University of South Australia, where researchers have discovered that one of the underlying causes of insomnia is the failure of the body to drop its core temperature. Apparently, this drop in temperature is necessary to initiate a normal sleep cycle. Lead author Dr. Cameron Van der Heuvel notes that, “These physiological changes happen well before going to bed and may be occurring before people realize them.”

If the body fails to regulate its core temperature — which it does by shifting some of its body heat to outlying areas such as the face, hands and feet — it can affect both kinds of insomnia:

  • Sleep onset insomnia: This kind of insomnia prevents someone from falling asleep naturally and more often occurs in young or middle-aged adults.
  • Sleep maintenance insomnia: This kind of insomnia prevents someone from staying asleep once they have gone to bed and causes the sufferer to awake several times throughout the night. This happens more often in older adults.

Researchers at the university found that those who do have insomnia of either type, tend to have slightly higher core temperatures than those who sleep normally or well. This is backed by other research that has shown that an impaired thermo-regulatory system can affect the quality of sleep.

The goods news is that this research may help to develop home treatments for insomnia, such as sleeping in a colder room or using biofeedback to send heat from the body’s core to its periphery. There are other health benefits to sleeping in a colder room as well: in one study published in the journal Diabetes, men sleeping in a cooler room improved their metabolic profile and significantly reduced their chances of metabolic diseases like diabetes.

Other Natural Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) apart from sleeping in a colder bedroom, there are other natural ways to help improve the quality of sleep that are backed by scientific research. These include:

  • Changing one’s mattress when it becomes saggy or loose in order to get the support you need when you sleep.
  • Choosing the materials of the mattress, bed linens, pyjamas, and sleepwear carefully in order to help prevent the body from getting too warm or too cold while asleep.
  • Keeping the sleeping environment clean, which can also reduce sleep problems caused by allergies.

It has also been suggested that going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, keeping the room dark, quiet, and cool will also help. In short, insomnia is a condition which can cause chronic sleep disturbances and has effects on both the mind and body. Thanks to the new research that has discovered a link between core body temperature and sleep disturbances, there are more natural options to help improve sleep quality. As an added bonus, sleeping in a colder room not only prepares the body for better sleep, but it also decreases the risk of serious health problems like diabetes; in short, it’s a simple way to greatly improve one’s general health in the future.

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