It has been really hot all over Europe for the last couple of weeks. It was also very hot last week in New York City where I was for my Nutritional Therapy studies. Therefore the topic of sleeping well, when it is really hot, has come up plenty of times in the last few weeks. A lot of people find it very hard to go to sleep, but also find themselves waking up a lot during the night. Besides blasting an AC on full capacity – What can you do?
To improve on the situation I find that an ice-bath works really well. It is like the cold temperature resets your nervous system. It is actually great for your immune system and can help to relieve pain. Also, bringing down your body temperature just a little makes a hot room seem a lot more agreeable.
When: I prefer to do this right before I go to bed. If you have some epsom salt, or sea-salt throw that in the bath too. I usually put in a total of about 1-2 dl (½-1 cup).
Put the tap on the coldest setting and fill up the bathtub. Get in the tub and stay there for a couple of minutes. When your body starts shaking, it’s a good time to get out. For me that usually takes +15 minutes. You do not need to stay in that long though if you don’t want too. You will still have some beneficial effects.
No bathtub? Then you can use the shower. Put it on the coldest setting and stay in there for about 5 minutes or more. If you don’t mind getting your hair wet, stand right underneath the shower for maximum cooling effect. Otherwise aim the shower for the upper part of your neck and base of your scull. You have a lot of nerve-tissue in this area, which will have a better response than if you have the water aimed at your upper back.
Don’t want to shower? Then get a large ice-pack, or two, and put them on your neck and shoulders. Make sure it is covering the upper part of your spine. Keep the ice on for as long as you can, at least 20min or so, depending a bit on the size of your ice-pack. Remember to have a thin layer of clothing, like a t-shirt, between your skin and the ice-pack. Otherwise you might end up with frostbite on your skin.
I have tried all the above methods and I find that the ice-bath in the tub works the best. But, all the other methods will definitely improve on the situation either way. Bringing down the body temperature just a little makes me fall asleep very easily, and I usually sleep through the whole night. Try out the different methods and let me know how it works for you.
Some amazing people, Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece, Kelly Starrett, Brian Mackenzie, Wim Hof, Tim Ferriss and Dr. Rhonda Patrick just to name a few, think ice-baths should be a standard in your life. We will take a deep dive into that kind of chemistry and cold therapy next week.
“Ice, ice baby”
Have a great weekend!