Dr Hilary Jones gives advice on how to sleep with coronavirus
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Each person’s circadian rhythm influences the fluctuation of body temperature throughout the day and night. Could yours be slightly off the mark before bedtime, thereby explaining your difficulty with falling asleep? According to the Sleep Foundation, a lower body temperature usually precedes sleep. And one quick, simple, and easy trick could create the ideal environment for a blissful slumber.
Evidence suggests that wearing socks can lower your core body temperature, causing you to fall asleep faster.
Women, in particular, have a “lower resting metabolic rate” that impacts their sensitivity towards more chilly sleep environments.
How does wearing socks help you to fall asleep?
Wearing socks encourages distal vasodilation, meaning more blood flows to the feet.
Consequently, as more blood flows towards the feet, the core body temperature begins to drop.
Research published in the National Library of Medicine analysed the effectiveness of bed socks on sleep quality.
The research team, from Seoul National University, recruited six men for their sleep study.
Each man participated in two experimental conditions:
- Wearing socks to bed
- And not wearing socks to bed.
A wrist actigraphy was used to record sleep quality via numerous measurements:
- Sleep onset latency
- Sleep efficiency
- Total sleep time
- Number of awakenings
- Wake after sleep onset
- Average wakening length
- Movement index
- Fragmentation index.
All measurements were taken over a seven-hour period while the participants slept in a room that was 23°C in temperature.
Their heart rates and skin temperatures were also recorded, and the participants were asked on their views on how well they slept.
When wearing socks to bed, the participants fell asleep 7.5 minutes more quickly than when not wearing socks.
Moreover, total sleep time for those wearing bed socks lasted for 32 minutes longer.
People wearing socks to bed experienced “7.5 times smaller” numbers of awakenings during the night.
Furthermore, sleep efficiency was “7.6 percent higher” for those wearing socks to bed.
Thus, the researchers concluded that wearing socks to bed “had positive effects on sleep quality”.
“These results imply that sleep quality could be improved by manipulation of the foot temperature throughout sleeping,” the researchers added.
The Sleep Foundation cautioned that elderly people may not experience the same sleep benefits by wearing socks to bed.
“Age may play an important role in the efficacy of feet warming’s effect on sleep,” the organisation noted.
People who suffer from circulatory issues or swelling of the feet are better off not wearing socks to bed.
It is also advisable to avoid compression socks when trying to fall asleep more easily.
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