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A Colder Room Can Decrease Insomnia, Study Finds

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.”

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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:

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  • 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.

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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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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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