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Falling asleep fast (3): Physical Adaptation

June 25, 2018

Trouble sleeping? See our series of sleep-hacks

Welcome back, dear reader, to the final sitting of our sleep serenade. For our dessert course, we will be looking at physical adaptation. (Don’t worry, we’re talking feng shui, not surgery.) Even if you don’t realize it, the things in and around your bedroom greatly affect your sleep. In this month’s piece we’ll be looking at how to change these to better catapult you into peaceful sleep.

A bed of nails

Let’s start with the basics. What are you sleeping on? Needless to say, if you’re on tenterhooks come bedtime, you need a new tenter. Duke University made a study of more than 16,000 nights of sleep. In doing so they proved that even moderate changes in mattress consistency and support directly influenced quality of sleep and lingering pain. If you’re unsure whether you would benefit most from a soft, medium or firm surface, opt for a memory foam mattress. By molding itself to your sleeping form, the mattress ensures maximum comfort and support even for difficult sleepers.

A rock to lay your head

You pillow is the second most important thing in your bedroom. It (or they) must be custom purchased for your particular sleeping style. You would not have expected Michelangelo to finger-paint the Sistine Chapel, would you? No, because you need the right tools for the right job. Get a pillow suited to your favored bed posture. Whether you’re a back-sleeper, side-sleeper or stomach-sleeper, make sure your spine stays dead straight and you’ll be dead to the world until sunrise.

Pajama pandemonium

After all this trouble making sure your bed is a comfortable and receptive haven, it would be a shame to learn your wardrobe causes your sleeplessness. Constricting, abrasive or hot bedclothes can rob you of your essential rest. It is important to be comfortable in your sleep attire when you put it on, of course. But it must stay comfortable throughout the night for best results. If you find yourself waking up in search of more blankets or cooler air, reconsider your pajamas. Sleeping naked is a definite option (so long as you don’t tend to sleepwalk).

Socks to be awake

Cold feet are famously bad for weddings but even more so for falling asleep. When cold constricts the blood vessels in your feet, they create a choke point in your circulatory system and mess with your overall temperature regulation. A Swiss study showed that warm hands and feet were strong predictors of speedy slumber. Warm your feet prior to sleep and wear socks to bed. You might just find some peaceful dreams in your stocking.

Be cool

There is such a thing as an ideal sleep temperature and it exists within a very narrow margin of error. Overshoot in either direction and you’ll miss landing on Cloud Nine. A decrease in body temperature naturally slows the heart rate and metabolism, signaling the brain that it is time for sleep. Unsurprisingly, most insomniacs tend to run a hotter body temperature, prior to bedtime, than normal sleepers. If you’re lucky enough to have a home with climate control, turn the temperature down to between 18 and 19 degrees before bedtime.

Get professional help…

To reiterate, there is only so much our over-the-counter genius can do for you. If you’ve made your way through our entire buffet of sleep-hacks with no improvement, it might be time to go à la carte and see the chef… Alright, so the metaphor falls a little flat. But in the interests of falling flat yourself, see a doctor if you still can’t fall asleep.

We hope you’ve enjoyed (and benefited from) this series. (You can follow these links if you’ve missed the appetizer or the main course.) As always, wishing you peaceful sleep (your consciousness consigliere) Bed King.

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