Science-backed tricks for sleeping soundly despite the heat

Science-backed tricks for sleeping soundly despite the heat
Science-backed tricks for sleeping soundly despite the heat

With many points in Spain where the nights are already warm it’s hard To fall asleep. If other behaviours are also present that can interfere with a good night’s sleep, sleeping through the night can become an impossible task. Following doctors’ recommendations on food intake, the hours at which you should exercise or how your bedroom should be arranged can help you sleep better.

The doctor Maria Jose Martinez, coordinator of the chronobiology working group of the Spanish Sleep Society (SES), says that in order to sleep, you must first cool the body: “Our organs have to cool down, just like a machine. They give off heat and we have to expel the excess through the skin. If the temperature outside is much higher, it is very difficult to expel it.”

The doctor says that to lower body temperature, a good option is to take a shower. shower with warm water: “Although it may seem contradictory, if we apply heat to the skin we encourage the blood vessels to open, dilate and then expel the heat.” This is the way in which the body will cool down and we will be able to fall asleep.

Foods with tryptophan

To sleep well in summer, it is important to maintain a balanced and varied diet. Dr. Javier Albaresdirector of the Sleep Unit at the Teknon Medical Center, explains that foods containing tryptophan can promote good rest. This essential amino acid is found in a variety of foods: legumes, nuts, dairy products, eggs, oily fish, poultry, cereals, vegetables and certain fruits such as strawberries, peaches, grapes, apples, papayas, mangoes, oranges, dates and grapefruits.

Drinking water

In addition, it is important to drink water throughout the day and not at the last minute as this could cause sleeping problems. Dr. Esteban Eduardo De Vicente Álvarez-Manzanedahead of the Sleep Disorders Unit at Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja, says: “If, just before going to bed, you have drunk a lot, or if you have included foods with a diuretic effect, such as asparagus, watermelon or cold soups, the quality of your sleep may be affected.”

No alcohol

It is common to hear that consuming alcohol helps you fall asleep faster, however, although at first it may have a sedative effect, studies have shown that drinking alcohol before bed disturbs sleepExperts from the University of Chile explain that “the harmful effects of alcohol on sleep are related to alterations in the rhythm of the cycles and changes in the duration of sleep states (especially REM sleep), in addition to causing a reduction in the time it takes to fall asleep and an increase in the number of times one wakes up during the night.”

If you are one of those who likes to have a glass of wine with dinner in the summer, one trick is to let it pass at least three hours even getting into bed so you don’t have trouble falling asleep.

Better in the dark

It may be tempting to sleep with the windows open, letting in the light from the streetlights. However, sleeping in complete darkness helps you fall asleep. Dr. Michael Breusconsidered the American sleep guru, explains the role of melatonin also known as the hormone of darkness. This hormone cannot be produced in the presence of light, “so when there is light in the room, a message is sent that the body interprets as a signal to stop releasing melatonin and stay awake.” Also, if you are one of those who prefer to turn on a light bulb, this will only make the temperature of the room rise.

Exercise yes but…

Consistent daily exercise can help you fall asleep because, like light, it is a circadian pacemaker, however, according to Dr. Breus, it should be done at least four hours before bedtime to avoid the risk of artificially increasing body temperature.

Five tricks to sleep without being hot

The doctor Irene Rubio Bollingerhead of the Sleep Unit and specialist in Clinical Neurophysiology at the Quirónsalud Sur Hospital, offers five tips for sleeping without heat:
  1. Shower with warm water and dry yourself with a towel after a while. This will help lower your body temperature. However, avoid using very cold water, which can put you on alert.
  2. Use a cold water bottleor that has been in the fridge for a while before, and use it to cool the bed as it was done in the old days (and even today) to warm beds in winter with hot water bottles.
  3. Cool down your thin cotton socks in the fridge before going to bed and put them on when you get into bed. This way your feet won’t be hot when you sleep.
  4. Place a moistened towel on the temple when you are in bed.
  5. Wet your wrists before going to sleep to lower your body temperature.
 
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