Summertime can present challenges to thermoregulation during sleep. Here in Phoenix, the outdoor temperatures are regularly well over the 100-degree mark for several months, resulting in the need to crank the air conditioning to get some relief. It is well known that a cooler room is optimal for sleep, but is the same true for our feet?
When I was stationed in Germany during my Army days, I suffered frostbite in my feet that has left me with permanent nerve damage. Even in these hot summer temperatures, my feet are always cold. When it’s time to go to bed, I need these extremities warm in order to sleep, even if it’s preferred that the rest of my room is cool.
In 2018, Yelin Ko and Joo-Young Lee of Seoul National University conducted a foot-warming study simply by having subjects wear socks to sleep. The results indicated that these individuals initiated sleep more quickly, slept longer and more efficiently, and woke fewer times throughout the night. It seems that in order to fall asleep, stay asleep, and achieve optimal sleep quality, our feet need some extra special attention to promote ideal thermoregulation.
Researchers refer to the space between our feet (bodies) and the covers on our bed as a microclimate. According to Kazue Okamoto-Mizuno and Koh Mizuno of Tohoku Fukushi University, a slightly increased external skin temperature may help alleviate sleep problems, and this depends on the temperature and humidity of the microclimate. Prior to having the Bed Block at my disposal, and before I even knew of this research, I was going to bed with socks to help mitigate the effects of my frostbite injury.
If you’re like me, however, you can’t keep socks on until morning. Throughout the night, you get hot and peel them off or stick your feet out of the blankets to cool off. Then, at some point, your feet are cold again--that summer air conditioning can be a blessing and a curse for sure--and the cycle continues. I always knew there had to be a better way to keep the feet warm, but not sweaty. It’s amazing the impact this small part of our bodies has on our overall body temperature and sleep quality!
The Bed Block solved a longstanding problem I faced every single night with my cold feet. I still have to put effort into getting them warm before going to bed (sometimes I wear socks just prior to jumping in), but once I’m asleep, the tented microclimate that the Bed Block creates has proven the perfect solution: my feet are covered, but not so much so that clingy socks or a heavy comforter are broiling them. Now, I don’t have to wake up at night to remove socks or kick my feet out of the covers.
My wife, who has no foot conditions, has been sleeping with her Bed Block since day one, specifically for the benefits of temperature regulation and roominess. While the Bed Block can help alleviate symptoms associated with many foot ailments, we have many users like my wife that are just trying to make it through summer and the everyday battles that many sleepers face with thermoregulation. Let us help you to get more comfortable between the sheets!
If you want to read more on the studies, look for the following.
Okamoto-Mizuno, Kazue, and Koh Mizuno. "Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm." Journal of Physiological Anthropology, vol. 31, no. 1, 2012.
Ko, Yelin, and Joo-Young Lee. "Effects of feet warming using bed socks on sleep quality and thermoregulatory responses in a cool environment." Journal of Physiological Anthropology, vol. 37, no. 1, 2018