What is influencing your sleep quality?
Sleep at night is influenced by various factors like the lower blue light frequencies in the evening or low energy levels after a long, intense working day.
Environmental factors and a high sleep drive because low energy levels trigger the action of chemicals like Adenosine, Melatonin and GABA, which cause drowsiness, sleep onset and sleep maintenance.
There is one sleep promoting environmental factor, which is often underestimated, and it is a drop in environmental temperature with a slight decrease in body temperature.
Why is sleeping temperature important?
In nature, with the settings of the sun, the environmental temperature and body temperature decreases and sleep occurs. Low environmental temperature is a time cue for our body and brain, which eventually induces sleepiness, sleep onset and sleep maintenance.
The hypothalamus in the brain regulates body temperature between 36 ºC and 38ºC (96.8 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 24 hours of the day and night. We can state that a cooler core body temperature is favourable for sleep and warmer body temperature is energising.
How to optimise body temperature to sleep better?
According to the fact above, you can do one thing to slightly lower your core body temperature to fall asleep easier and maintain a healthy sleep pattern throughout the night!
Sleep with the socks on!
Right now, you might think -what are the benefits of sleeping with socks on?
Believe it or not, but scientists get paid to research the effects of wearing socks during the night. It might sound weird, but the fact that wearing socks at night improves sleep is now a scientific truth. The secret lies in the thermoregulation system of the body.
The socks will warm up your feet and cause vasodilation of the small vessels which will shunt blood flow to the feet. The feet are getting warmer, but the core body temperature drops a bit. This temperature gradient between distal and core body temperature seems to be a key signal for the brain to induce sleep.
Temperature is one of the most critical time cues of the Circadian System!
The research is showing that the more vasodilation in the feet, the quicker you can fall asleep. That probably explains why people have used hot water bottles near their feet under the blanket to induce sleep.
What are the perfect sleeping conditions?
If it is too cold, the body and brain must work more to regulate the temperature. It prevents us from relaxing, and falling asleep becomes much more difficult.
It is a small temperature gradient, which is the secret of falling asleep easier and maintaining sleep during the night.
If you decide to experiment and sleep with the socks on, instead of sleeping barefoot, make sure the socks are clean. It’s not too thick or too tight.
Don’t use compression socks for sleeping. The socks must be breathable, and from natural materials, like cashmere, cotton or woollen fabric.
Make sure your legs are not sweating, and you feel comfortable.