30 SEC­ONDS TO PUT WORK STRESS AND IN­SOM­NIA ON ICE

Men's Health (Australia) - - Time -

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.

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