Two more helpful tips for better or healthier sleep

bed turned down

I’ve written before about weight and sleep. Sleep duration and quality appears to have a direct effect on our metabolic rate and on our eating habits. Without realising it, a poor night’s sleep can increase our calorie intake the next day. So Appetite Retraining takes sleep seriously.

Two recent articles from the New York Times relate to sleep.

Unusual soothing sounds on youtube can help you fall asleep

 It seems that according to a NY Times video at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/?s=ASMR there is a new youtube sensation which can help you fall asleep. Apparently over 2.6 million videos on youtube are designed to trigger a tingling feeling which people experience as soothing. This tingling sensation has been termed “Autonomic Sensory Meridian Response” and it is simply produced by certain types of sounds. These include someone playing with lego pieces, hands smoothing a tablecloth and fingers gently scrunching plastic food wrapping.

The sounds are all quiet and gentle and it makes sense that they could aid falling asleep. I’m just amazed that there could be millions of these videos on youtube!

Room temperature at night affects metabolic rate

 The NYT article which you can view at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/lets-cool-it-in-the-bedroom/ describes the following study:

Researchers looked at the effects of bedroom temperature on measures of the amount of brown fat stored in the body and the levels of blood sugar and insulin levels. Unlike white fat which is the fat that we look to lose during weight loss, brown fat is metabolically active.

The researchers studied five healthy young male volunteers who slept in climate-controlled conditions in the lab for four months. The men went about their normal lives during the days, then returned every evening. All meals were provided  to keep their calorie intakes constant.

For the first month, the researchers kept the bedrooms at 75 degree, the next month the bedrooms were cooled to 66 degrees, a temperature that the researchers expected might stimulate brown-fat activity and the following month, the bedrooms were reset to 75 degrees, and for the last month, the sleeping temperature was 81 degrees. Throughout, the subjects’ blood-sugar and insulin levels were tracked and after each month, the amount of brown fat was measured.

After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the men had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat and their insulin sensitivity improved. The men also burned a few more calories throughout the day when their bedroom was chillier but this was not enough to result in weight loss within the time of the study.

So, if you cool you room down at night you may reap small but potentially important health benefits. Easier said than done during a hot summer, but food for thought.

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