When it comes to sleep tips, experts typically recommend having blackout curtains, maintaining regular sleep schedules, getting morning light exposure, and avoiding electronics before bed. One less-commonly mentioned tip is warming your feet.
Does warming your feet help you sleep better?
Last week, the founder and CEO of Lumos, Dr. Biquan Luo, was invited by Fox News Ask a doc program to discuss the secret hack of getting a good night’s sleep.
So how does warming your feet affect sleep?
The short answer is yes.
Warming the feet can have a positive impact on sleep for many people, primarily because of its effect in promoting lower core body temperature and relaxation.
Here’s how it works:
Lower core body temperature
Warming the feet, either by using a heating pad, taking a warm bath, having a foot SPA, or wearing warm socks, can dilate the blood vessels in the feet, meaning the blood vessels in the feet would expand and hold more blood. This dilation allows more blood to flow from other parts of the body to the feet. As a result, it can help dissipate body heat and lower the core body temperature.
How does lowering core body temperature help with sleep?
Core body temperature is the temperature for the internal organs within the central part of the body to operate, particularly in the chest and abdomen. Core body temperature plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle. As we sleep, our core temperature naturally drops as part of our circadian rhythm. This decline starts at the beginning of sleep and reaches its lowest point during the early morning hours. Decrease of the core body temperature helps the body fall and stay asleep.
In addition, the sensation of warmth on the feet can be soothing and relaxing, making it easier to unwind and fall asleep. For those who have poor microcirculation, reduced blood flow to the hands and feet can lead to cold and numb sensations. In such cases, gently warming the feet can provide relief by increasing blood flow and alleviating discomfort, further helping them fall asleep.
What else to pay attention to?
Although in theory warming your feet helps you sleep, it is important to note that individual preferences vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some people may prefer cooler feet when they sleep and find that warming their feet disrupts their sleep. However, if you decide to try warming your feet before bed, especially if you are one of those who have poor microcirculation, be sure to avoid discomfort or injuries from overheating. Elderly individuals have a decreased heat perception, making them especially vulnerable to injuries from overheating.
In summary, warming the feet before sleep can be a helpful tip for potentially better sleep. However, the effectiveness of this approach may vary from person to person, so it’s important to pay attention to your own comfort and sleep preferences. If you have concerns about your sleep quality or maintaining the right temperature for sleep, don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.