Warm Hands, Feet Aid In Sleep

Even if you don't suffer from insomnia, chances are you have trouble falling asleep now and again. A new study in the journal Nature says the body's temperature regulation system needs to be adjusted before onset of sleep can occur, reports CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay on CBS This Morning.


Researchers looked at the sleep patterns of a group of healthy men and found those whose hands and feet warmed up the fastest fell asleep first. This happens because of the release of a hormone called melatonin in the brain.

Previous research has shown some sleep disorders may be a consequence of the inability of the blood vessels to dilate and prepare the body for sleeping. This is a symptom in older people who have circulatory problems, which result in cold hands and feet.

The body's temperature regulation system redistributes heat from the core to areas such as the hands and feet when you lie down at night.

Researchers speculate that to prepare your body for a good night's sleep, it may help to make sure your hands and feet are warm. You could put on socks and mittens to help you drift off or use a warm water bottle. Additionally, keeping the temperature of the room cool is necessary.

If you are having consistent problems falling asleep it may be helpful to warm up your hands and feet before you jump in bed.

Other techniques like taking hot bath, drinking a warm glass of milk and keeping to a set schedule may prove successful. It is important to remember, however, chronic sleeping disorders are treatable. Those who experience prolonged sleeplessness should consult a doctor.