Monday, October 5, 2009

For a cool night's sleep


AVOIDING caffeine or drinking a glass of warm milk are the usual tips for a good night's rest. But the right room temperature can also play a crucial role.

Studies have found that, in general, the optimal temperature for sleep is quite cool, around 15.6 to 20 degrees Celsius. For some people, temperatures that fall too far below or above this range can lead to restlessness.

Temperatures in this range, it seems, help facilitate the decrease in core body temperature that in turn initiates sleepiness. A growing number of studies are finding that temperature regulation plays a role in many cases of chronic insomnia.

Researchers have shown, for example, that insomniacs tend to have a warmer core body temperature than normal sleepers just before bed, which causes the body to be more alert as it tries to reset its internal thermostat.

For normal sleepers, the drop in core temperature is marked by an increase in temperature in the hands and feet, as the blood vessels dilate and the body radiates heat.

Studies show that for troubled sleepers, a cool room and a hot-water bottle placed at the feet, which rapidly dilates blood vessels, can push the internal thermostat to a better setting. The New York Times


From TODAY, Health – Tuesday, 08-Sep-2009