Hydrotherapy For Insomnia Relief

Hydrotherapy is the use of water at various temperatures for healing purposes.

Your body is always trying to maintain its own internal balance by creating or releasing heat. Hydrotherapy is a simple but very effective means of helping your body reach this balance.

Insomnia is often partly caused by the fact that you and/or your sleeping environment may not be at the right temperature for going to sleep.

In general, you should be warm in bed but have a cool bedroom.

If you are either too hot or too cold to get to sleep, try one of the following treatments. Do read the cautionary notes that come with each treatment.

Hydrotherapy For When You’re Too Cold

There’s no more uncomfortable feeling than lying curled up in a freezing bed trying to get up the courage to push your feet down in between ice-cold sheets.

Cold causes muscles to tense up. Shivering is your body’s way of trying to build heat through (involuntary) muscular activity. It’s hard to fall asleep when your teeth are chattering!

Warm Baths

The simplest form of hydrotherapy is to take a warm bath.

The optimal temperature for most people is between 36 to 38 degrees Celsius (97 to 101 Fahrenheit).

Caution: Elderly people, those with cardiovascular conditions, pregnant women, and young children should not take intensely hot baths. If there is inflammation on any part of your body, you might want to consider one of the more local applications below.

You can add Epsom salts to your bath if you want a detoxifying treatment, or a few drops of lavender essential oil to help your mind relax.

Climb in and relax for 15 to 20 minutes!

Warm baths are a great way to relax tense muscles and warm the body up for sleep, especially during winter.

Hydrotherapy For Insomnia Relief

Warm Foot Baths

Another option is to have a warm foot bath. This is a great option if your job has you on your feet. If you’ve been feeling under the weather or if you have a headache, this simple treatment will pick you right up, too.

Fill a small tub with warm water — enough to reach mid-calf. If the circulation in your feet is poor and/or you want to give your immune system a boost, add a couple of tablespoons of mustard powder.

The water temperature should be between 38 and 42 degrees Celsius (see above note on who should avoid these temperatures).

Hydrotherapy For When You’re Too Warm

Especially in the summer, or in an overheated home, your problems getting to sleep might be solved by the application of cold hydrotherapy.

It’s not an idea most people are familiar with — we are all so used to associating warmth with health — but in many cases cold is what’s required to return your body to balance.

If you’re a woman in the late stages of pregnancy (and it happens to be the dog days of summer), you’ll probably find these methods very helpful.

Caution: If, however, you have high blood pressure or an overactive thyroid, it may be best to stay away from cold hydrotherapy or to use it at milder temperatures.

Cold Compress to the Abdomen

Dip a face towel in very cold water and wring it out thoroughly. Lie on your bed with your shirt pulled up and place the cold compress on your stomach.

You can mix a little vinegar in with the water if you would like to increase the cooling properties of this treatment and encourage your body to detoxify.

People always look at me funny when I suggest this as a treatment for insomnia, but in hot weather or if you have excess heat in your system, nothing beats it.

The cold against your skin causes the blood in your skin to rush into your intestines. The increased blood flow to these organs stimulates your digestive system (you may hear a gurgle or two), which in term calms the nervous system.

You’ll soon start feeling sleepy. Don’t fall asleep before removing the compress. You may want to put a small container next to your bed to catch the towel in.

Note: Your body will grow accustomed to hydrotherapy treatments if you use them very regularly. You’ll find they become less effective after a while, so only use these methods every few days or so. One summer I used cold compresses so often that by the end of August I was putting freezer blocks directly onto my skin. It’s not recommended!

Cold Foot Baths

Like the warm foot bath described above, this hydrotherapy treatment is great if you’ve come home with aching feet on a swelteringly hot day.

It will also lift your mood and ease congestive headaches.

Simply fill a small tub with very cold water and place your feet in it. You’ll likely feel like squealing at first, but stick with it — you’ll feel your mind quietening down and your body relaxing, almost in spite of yourself.

Here’s a variation on this treatment:

If you wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot under the covers, simply stick your feet out from under your bedclothes and let them cool down.

You’ll go back to sleep more quickly this way!

If you’re using a cold compress to the abdomen to cool off, you can also apply the cold towel to your feet (especially to your ankle where the Achilles tendon is). This will help your body release heat more quickly.