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Tips for Good Night’s Sleep

Posted August. 30, 2007 06:07,   


The season of tropical nights has begun. With midday highs going up to 35 degrees Celsius, temperatures hover around 25 degrees at night, depriving many of a good night’s sleep.

As the human body maintains the body heat by losing heat through the skin, a high temperature makes it hard to lose heat. Under these circumstances, the body increases its heartbeats and perspiration to help its heat-losing mechanisms. The nerves are stimulated in the process, which, in turn, hinders a good night’s sleep. The next morning, you have a dull feeling in the head and feel tired. Let us look at some of the recommendations for a sound sleep on those hot tropical nights.

Frequent showers with tepid water-

Experts say that lowering body temperature is critical to having a good night’s sleep on a tropical night. A shower with tepid, but not cold, water is recommended. A cold shower shrinks the skin. As the skin is the key part in losing body heat, shrinking the area of the skin means less release of body heat, which makes you feel hot again soon. If you take a tepid shower, you can lose body heat while the water evaporates without shrinking your skin. Sleeping on linen also helps precipitation, bringing down body heat. Or, you can use a Dutch wife as well. As wind passes through a Dutch wife, you body loses heat. Wearing hemp pajamas, which are air permeable, is also a good idea.

Quench your thirst with saengmaeksan-

When tropical nights continue, you feel tired and less energetic. If you sweat a lot and often grow thirsty, drinking “saengmaeksan” helps. The concoction is a boiled mixture of ginseng, maekmundong and omija. Ginseng boosts your vigor and maekmundong hydrates your body, while omija suppresses precipitation. The recipe is as follows. Boil maekmuondong (40 grams) and omija and ginseng (20 grams each). Simmer another 30 minutes to one hour.

Aromatherapy is another option. Chamomile, lavender and neroli armoa help. Put a few drops of aroma oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the aroma. It is also good to soak your body in a bathtub with five to 10 drops of aroma oil. You should avoid peppermint and jasmine aromas because they tend to wake up your body.

Myths about tropical nights-

Some drink alcohol before going to bed. Alcohol might help you fall asleep, but the effect goes only so far. Alcohol makes you feel thirsty and want to urinate, so you wake up a few times while sleeping.

Watching a horror movie is not a very good idea, either. A horrific scene stimulates your sympathetic nerves, making you sweat. You feel cool since you body heats up while your sweat evaporates. However, as it takes considerable time to calm the stimulated nerves, it is hard for you to sleep soundly.

If you keep an electric fan or air conditioner on, you lose body heat. But that is not desirable in the entire process of sleeping. If your body temperature goes down, your body contracts its muscles and burns nutrients to maintain its body temperature. As such activities continue while you are asleep, it is hard for you to sleep deeply. It is better to lower the room temperature before going to bed by keeping an air conditioner on for an hour or two. You need to make sure that it is on for no more than one hour after you go to sleep.

(Advice: Professor Ha Ji-youn of Department of Oriental Medicine at Cha General Hospital, Professor Shin Hong-beom of Department of Neuropsychiatry at Eulji General Hospital, Professor Lee Sung-jae of Korea University Anam Hospital, and Professor Hong Seung-bong of Department of Neurology at Samsung Medical Center)