Skip to comments.Sleep Hack: Keep Your Feet Outside Your Covers
Posted on 08/17/2014 10:56:00 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Introducing a slightly odd but potentially very useful sleep hack: Keep one foot, or both feet, outside of your blanket. It could help you both sleep better and fall asleep faster, a sleep researcher explained to Science of Us.
I started thinking about this recently when I was idly chatting with a buddy about how (relatively) nice and cool it had been recently in New York, and how much nicer it is to sleep when its cooler outside. He replied with what is apparently his formula for a perfect nights sleep: One foot out from under the blanket and a nice breeze coming from the window.
I do the same thing, I realized keep my foot outside the covers but Ive never known why. A slow news day in August seemed as good as a time as any to find out, so I spoke with Natalie Dautovitch, a spokesperson for the National Sleep Foundation and a psychology professor at the University of Alabama. Dautovitchs research focuses on chronopsychology that is, how our routines and biological rhythms fluctuate throughout the day and night, and how that affects our health and well-being. And while she said theres never been any research specifically looking into my question, she was game to offer up a few theories based on her research.
What it comes down to, she thinks, is the connection between sleep and temperature. Sleep researchers know that right before you fall asleep, your body temperature starts to drop; in the deepest stages of sleep, your body is at its coolest, about one or two degrees below normal. Some scientists believe cooler temperatures cause sleepiness, and although the pre-slumber cooling process happens naturally, there are a few things you can do to help it along, like taking a warm bath right before bed, for example. When you leave the tub, your body temperature rapidly cools, triggering that sleepy feeling. A warm beverage works the same way.
Which brings us back to the foot thing. I think its likely in service of trying to cool our bodies down because weve gotten too warm to sleep, Dautovitch said.
But why the foot, specifically? The skin surfaces of both our hands and feet are unique, Dautovitch explained, both in that theyre hairless and because they contain specialized vascular structures that help with heat loss. Specifically, the hands and feet contain blood vessels called the arteriovenous anastomoses, which coupled with the lack of hair on the bottoms of your feet are perfectly designed to help dissipate body heat. So combine that with what scientists know about the decrease in body temperature during sleep, and its possible that sticking your toe out or your foot out could bring you to a more restorative sleep, Dautovitch said.
In general, people tend to sleep best in colder rooms, between 60 and 67 degrees, she said. So if youre looking for a more conventional sleepy-time tip, maybe just get an extra fan.
A past friend of mine did that...she called it her “breathing foot”. ;o)
So THAT explains why I usually have slept with one leg under the covers and one leg outside.
My temperature always goes up at night. That was always a problem when at hospital - I was kept once for an extra day because of that.
If I go to bed and my feet are cold, sleep will not come. With temps in the 80s outside during the day, if I feel like a nap I cannot get to sleep unless my cold feet are under a heavy down comforter.
Jack Daniels might help.
That’s why I don’t understand the American way of sleeping, with the bed clothing tucked in at the bottom of a bed like we are to be slid into the bed as a quarter into a pants pocket.
I sleep the European way, with a duvet that can allow one’s feet to breathe.
one foot on the ground also helps keep the room from spinning.
I don’t know how or why but a year ago I started sleeping with a pillow under my feet. Now, if I didn’t have that pillow, I would be fairly miserable.
My wife asked me about it. I said I don’t know if it helps or hurts my health but you better make sure I am buried with one or I’ll be back to haunt you.
Because of ankle damage I sleep with my hanging off the end of the bed. I am not comfortable otherwise
So do both arms wrapped around the toilet.
Or so I have heard.
Regulates body temp.
That makes no sense. How do you keep the monster under your bed from eating your foot?
At home I never tuck the covers in and the first thing I do in a motel room is untuck everything.
If you are 6’5” you pretty much sleep this way anyhow.
“Keep one foot, or both feet, outside of your blanket”
I don’t believe it — my feet get cold if they are not covered.
Feet don't breathe.
Oddly, I’ve always done that. I can’t stand to have my feet under the covers except under very cold nights. Ditto for wearing socks to bed. I just get overheated.
I also like to always have a fan blowing on me, even if I have the A/C on.
my husband calls his outside foot his regulator...
i wonder if this is the study Beanie was talking about...
“one foot on the ground also helps keep the room from spinning. “
I feel dizzy just remembering....
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