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....
The first thing I do in a motel room is throw the comforter on the floor. They do not wash it.
Lol! ... Sounds like the voice of experience.
Because kitty will pounce on anything that moves underneath the covers. ;-)
Golly, we must be twins!
I am exactly the same..gotta have that fan, gotta have them feet out and I could NEVER sleep with socks on... I’d have to pass out to be asleep with socks on.
What’s this ‘sleep’ you’re talking about?
Hubby tucks the sheets and blanket tightly under the mattress.
It’s like sleeping in a strait jacket.
Have you ever punched or kicked him while sleeping?
Our family doctor back then (late 50's) said, in general, hungry = healthy and I stayed in good health.
To this day I still enjoy sleeping extra cool. Standing order: "turn the A.C. cooler and hand me another blanket."
No trouble trying to fall asleep when you're more anxious about getting warm.
in general, hungry = healthy
Scientist who study longevity report that the key to long life is Cold + Hungry. Apparently, cells that are seeking heat and nourishment remain more flexible, thus, healthier longer.
I sleep the European way, with a duvet that can allow ones feet to breathe.
When I buy new sheets, I buy an extra top sheet to match the set. I sew the two top sheets together on three sides, and add buttons and buttonholes to the fourth side. This becomes the duvet cover.
I put our duvet inside the cover, and we sleep with the bottom sheet, duvet in the cover, and that is it. We have a heavy feather duvet for winter and a light wool-filled duvet for summer.
I change the covers when I wash the sheets. I don't understand the American way at all.
For your safety, please keep your hands and feet inside the bed at all times.
I’m sorry, but any time I hear someone use “hack” in these terms, it just sounds so low information, idiot Millenial who can barely do anything for themselves. (And voted for Obama twice, live at home at their parents, and can’t understand why they dont have a job, and why Obamacare is not free, etc.)
"Now I lay me dow to sleep,
I pray the Lord, my soul, to keep,
If I should die before I wake...wait...what?"
“That makes no sense. How do you keep the monster under your bed from eating your foot?”
Yes, the monster under my bed is the reason IT IS IMPERATIVE TO KEEP THE OTHER LEG/FOOT UNDER THE COVERS. That other leg being UNDER the covers serves as an “anchor” to keep the monster from dragging me out of bed using the exposed foot and devouring me.
This is a truth I learned as a small child and have never forgotten it.
I think the expert is ignoring male/female differences. A study that I read about many, many years ago compared the physiological responses of men and women to cold temperatures. The data indicated that a man’s body temperature will become lower overall, whereas a woman’s
hands and feet will become cold first before the rest of her body will become colder.
The first thing I do in a hotel room is spray and wipe with disinfectant.
My feet also get cold if not covered. Sometimes, if I am having difficulty falling asleep, I put on socks. Sometime in the night, I take them off, but I usually have no memory of removing them.
A comforter is a type of bedding a soft flat bag used on a bed as a type of bed cover. It is filled with either an artificial material (such as polyester batting) or a natural material. A comforter usually doesn't cover the pillows or box spring of the bed. It is basically a luxurious thick, fluffy blanket that people put on their bed to achieve a much higher level of comfort and warmth. A similar type covering made from feathers (often including down) is generally referred to as a duvet.
A quilt is a type of bedding a bed covering composed of a quilt top, a layer of batting, and a layer of fabric for backing, generally combined using the technique of quilting. Another technique for securing the quilt layers is tying. Tying refers to the technique of using thread, yarn or ribbon to pass through all three layers of the quilt at reqular intervals. These "ties" hold the layers together during use and especially when the quilt is washed. This method is easier and more forgiving if the quilt is made by hand. Tied quilts are called, depending on the regional area, "hap", "comfort" or "comforter", among other names. Many quilts are made with decorative designs; indeed, some quilts are not used as bed covering at all, but are rather made to be hung on a wall or otherwise displayed.
A blanket is a type of bedding, generally a large, rectangular piece of cloth, intended to keep the user warm, especially while they sleep. Blankets are distinguished from sheets by their thickness and purpose; the thickest sheet is still thinner than the lightest blanket, because blankets are for warmth, while sheets are for hygiene, comfort and aesthetics. Blankets are subdivided into many types, including quilts, duvets, and comforters, depending on their thickness, construction and/or fill material. Electric blankets are heated by electricity. Blankets were traditionally made of wool, while sheets were made of cotton which is less irritating to the skin. These days, artificial fibers are frequently used for both.
Same here. We have to clear out to allow the Lysol fumes to dissipate. :)
I prefer quilts. They’re washable.
The real reason to keep your feet covered, courtesy of The Three Stooges (start at 4:40).
60-67 deg???? Holy cow, do you know how hard it is to cool our house down to that temp during the OK summers? I would lose my honorary Al Gore Earth Keeper certificate, if I tried to keep the house that cold. Plus, I would have to plant at least 20 more trees in the backyard to offset the damage I was doing the environment.
Not worth it. I guess I will continue to sleep poorly. It’s for the children.
I discovered that like my ADD son I also need a ton of covers to sleep well.
Theory: Less “ADD” in past because people were pressed every night in heavy woolen bedding. And quilts with cotton batting.
Which is mimicked now in special ed classes and by occupational therapists with weighted blankets and vests.
Keep them on your nightstand next to your wife’s false teeth.
I can’t sleep if there’s a tiny sliver of light: from the A/C, PC, moonsliver, anything. But I can’t use those night eye shades because of my very long hair, no anchor.
In TX, as soon as night temps drop to 60 or below (September), everybody celebrates the ‘sleeping weather’... which means, A/C off and naturally cool weather coming in the window. A full-length body pillow is also imperative to keep bones from knocking into each other.