When you find it impossible to sleep, this 1 simple trick can help

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This peculiar habit brings surprisingly positive results in terms of falling asleep faster.

Each of us has our own bedtime rituals. However, most people have one thing in common – we often put one foot out from under the covers at night.

Although it would seem that it has to do with the fact we cannot decide whether we prefer to sleep under the duvet or on it, this unusual custom has its scientific justification.

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Why do we often, even unconsciously, stick one foot out from under the covers?

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This peculiar habit, which is undoubtedly sticking one foot out from under the covers, brings surprisingly positive results in terms of falling asleep faster. This phenomenon has its scientific basis, which was explained by Prof. Natalie Dautovich from the University of Alabama in 2014 in New York Magazine.

Our feet have special connections (arteriovenous anastomoses) connecting arteries and veins. When we are hot, they open to allow more blood to flow. This allows the body to cool down faster. When falling asleep, this is important because body temperature directly affects the quality of sleep.

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As we fall asleep, our bodies become cooler – cooling itself reaches its lowest point during the deepest phase of sleep. For this reason, experts recommend a warm bath before going to bed. The evaporation of water will cause it to cool down faster, which will make you feel drowsy. A cup of hot tea or milk will work on the same principles. Dr Nayantara Santhi draws attention to another important aspect, “In the NREM phase, the temperature of the body and brain decreases, but in the REM phase it begins to increase.”

The body’s way of cooling itself is to stick one foot out from under the covers [iStock]

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Our body acts as a natural thermostat that maintains the appropriate temperature. As we prepare for sleep, it begins to drop, sending a message to the brain that it is time to rest.

According to experts, body temperature drops by 1-2 degrees C during sleep. Scientists believe that the main reason for the decrease is saving energy used not only to produce heat, but also to maintain physiological functions. However, if it is too warm, it is much more difficult for us to fall asleep.

The body’s way of cooling itself is to stick one foot out from under the covers. There is no hair on the soles of the feet to slow down the evaporation of water. This aspect, combined with the existing arteriovenous anastomoses, causes the body to cool down faster and thus accelerates falling asleep. The consequence of sticking your foot out from under the covers or just your toes is a more restorative sleep.

To regulate your body temperature and thus ensure healthy sleep, more than just sticking your foot out from under the covers will help. It is very important to ventilate the bedroom and relax before going to sleep – turn on calm music, take a regenerating bath or stop using the phone at least half an hour before going to bed. If we find it difficult to fall asleep, we can also use one of the techniques to help fall asleep. One of them is the 4-7-8 method, which is really worth trying.

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