30 SECONDS TO PUT WORK STRESS AND INSOMNIA ON ICE
AUSTRALIA HAS BECOME a nation of insomniacs. Sleep trouble is among the most common medical complaints today – studies show that around a third of adults suffer from insomnia, the most probable cause being stress. This has resulted in an epidemic of sleeping pill usage. The latest government figures show just under one million Australians had been prescribed a Pbs-subsidised sedative. But there’s a natural way to rest easier: you just need to hack into your evolutionary biology.
During your evening ablutions, plunge your face into a sink of icy water and hold it there for half a minute. According to the Swedishborn scientist Per Scholander and his team at the University of California, San Diego, this triggers an involuntary phenomenon called the “mammalian dive reflex”, which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. The falling heart rate is a response that is thought to have evolved to allow us to survive underwater for longer – the slower our heart rate, the less oxygen we use, and the longer we can stay submerged. And though you may be safely on dry land, the plummeting heart rate sinks your levels of cortisol and calms your nervous system – which, when you come up for air, will allow you to drift off to sleep more easily.
So, if you feel like you’re sinking at work from exhaustion, add this simple tweak to your pre-bed routine and pull the plug on insomnia. Lights out.
TAKE SOME COLD COMFORT IN THIS EVOLUTIONARY HACK.