Can cold improve sleep?
Most individuals understand the importance of a good night’s sleep for general health and wellness. They also understand that excellent sleep hygiene might help them sleep faster and better. Avoiding computer time before bedtime, limiting alcohol and caffeine use, and receiving lots of natural light instead of artificial light during the day are all good sleep hygiene advice. But did you know that you may also increase your sleep quality by employing a “cold exposure” technique?
So, what exactly is cold exposure? The act of exposing yourself to frigid temperatures is known as cold exposure. This may be accomplished in various ways, including having a cold shower, swimming in a cold body of water, or spending time outside in cold weather. You may have heard that resting in a cold atmosphere promotes a good night’s sleep. However, this page does not advocate sleeping in frigid temperatures, as 600F to 660F has been demonstrated to be the best room temperature for sleep. In fact, sleeping in low conditions might make falling asleep difficult in the first place. Furthermore, feeling chilly will induce you to wake up.
Increases slow wave sleep
So, how does cold exposure improve your sleep quality? To begin with, spending time in the cold can aid in increasing slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep is the deepest stage of sleep; during this period, our bodies mend and restore themselves. This is due to the fact that cold exposure can cause the generation of melatonin. Melatonin is regarded as the “sleep hormone” since it aids in sleep. This is one of the reasons animals may sleep and hibernate during the chilly winter months. Melatonin assists us in progressively winding down for bedtime, so taking a cold shower a couple of hours before rest is ideal. This is an excellent technique to jumpstart melatonin synthesis, especially if you have trouble falling asleep or your sleep-wake cycle is out of whack.
A cold shower should last no more than two minutes. However, this may take a long time if you are new to cold showers. In such a scenario, start with a few seconds each evening and work your way up to the whole two minutes.
Increases brown fat
The nicest part about taking a cold shower is that you will feel warm when you step out of it. This is caused by the shiver reflex, which attempts to keep you warm. When repeated over time, this shivering reaction can result in brown fat formation. Brown fat helps us burn fat and so keeps us warm, especially when we are newborns. However, for the sake of this essay, it has been demonstrated that having more brown fat increases the good form of sleep that is restorative, therapeutic, and crucial for our health.
Cold exposure can aid in reducing inflammation, which is a recognized cause of poor sleep quality. Inflammation is the body’s response to infection, damage, or discomfort. It is distinguished by redness, swelling, and discomfort. Although it is a natural immune system reaction, persistent inflammation can lead to various disorders.
Consider a time when you were a youngster and fell and harmed yourself. Your mother most likely placed a cold pack on the injury. This is due to the fact that cold exposure reduces inflammation by restricting blood vessels. This minimizes the quantity of blood that flows to the site of injury or irritation, resulting in less swelling and discomfort. Furthermore, cold exposure can help decrease inflammation by numbing nerve endings, providing pain relief and promoting recovery.
Although chronic inflammation is not the same as acute inflammation, such as scratching your knee, it may cause discomfort and illness. Cold exposure, on the other hand, aids in the battle against inflammation by increasing the production of anti-inflammatory molecules such as endorphins and adrenaline. These chemicals help in the regulation and reduction of inflammation. Furthermore, cold exposure stimulates the creation of white blood cells in charge of battling illness.
What does this have to do with sleeping? Insomnia might occur if you suffer from chronic inflammation. This indicates that you will have difficulty settling down and becoming asleep, that you will wake up frequently during the night, and that you will fight to sleep again. Inflammation is triggered by molecules known as cytokines, and their presence can disrupt our sleep. To add insult to injury, if you suffer from bad sleep or have just one night of no sleep, it can induce inflammation, which can lead to additional poor-quality sleep, which is another reason to take a cold shower on a frequent basis.
Consider adding some cold exposure to your evening routine if you’re seeking another strategy to boost the quality of your sleep! Although cold exposure can improve your sleep indirectly by lowering inflammation and increasing brown fat, it can also improve your sleep significantly by enhancing slow-wave, deep sleep.
- The Best Temperature for Sleep https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/best-temperature-for-sleep
- Effect of cold stimulation during slow-wave sleep on sleep cycle https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306456508000508
- Slow Wave Sleep: Does it Matter? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824210/
- Association of Melatonin Production with Seasonal Changes, Low Temperature, and Immuno-Responses in Hamsters https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017911/
- Central efferent pathways for cold-defensive and febrile shivering https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3167123/
- Brown adipose tissue at the intersection of sleep and temperature regulation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4972525/
- What to Know About Cold Water Therapy https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-water-therapy
- The Effects of Cold Exposure Training and a Breathing Exercise on the Inflammatory Response in Humans: A Pilot Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9071023/
- Sleep and inflammation: partners in sickness and in health https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-019-0190-z
- Sleep Inconsistency and Markers of Inflammation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7525126/
- One night on-call: sleep deprivation affects cardiac autonomic control and inflammation in physicians https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23601527/