Viral ice pack hack may be the secret to sound sleep

Dec 18, 2021
Science backs up TikTok trend claiming to be key to blissful slumber. Source: Getty

Having a solid night’s sleep is a fleeting thing for many people. Which is why it’s unsurprising that many turn to hacks and devices in the hope they’ll be able to get some rest. Well, fellow Insomniacs, the answer to your sleep deprivation has been sitting in your freezer all along. 

As reported by News.com.au, a social media trend circulating on TikTok that claims placing an ice pack on your chest might be the secret to overcoming insomnia. 

TikTok creator Frankie Simmons explained on the platform that placing an ice pack on her chest has allowed her to fall asleep in 15 minutes, rather than her standard hour-long fight for sleep. 

She explains that this technique cools your vagus nerve. 

“The vagus nerve is one of the longest nerves in your body and it controls a lot of your parasympathetic nervous system, aka the nervous system in control of calming you down,” she said.

@heyfrankiesimmonshappy icing! #internetbigsister #polyvagaltheory #vagusnerve #anxietyrelief #healingjourney #nervoussystemhealth #selfcareroutine♬ original sound – Frankie Simmons (she/her)

Simmons went on to share that cooling this nerve down “helps it release inflammation, it stimulates it, it just helps it do its job better.” According to Simmons, you can also get the same results from having ice-cold showers. 

There is also research that backs up this trend, studies that look into the benefits of cold stimulation on your body in relation to reducing feelings of anxiety show that putting something cold on your upper torso can activate the vagus nerve and help relax you.

In an interview with Stylist magazine, neuroscientist Anne-Sophie Fluri shared that cooling your vagus nerve helps your body to back to a calmer state after you experience a round of anxiety. 

“Cold exposure, like icing your chest, face or taking cold showers, will activate the cholinergic neurons of the vagal pathway, releasing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which tells young lungs to breathe, and your body to chill out,” she said.

Though this may come across as one of the stranger sleeping hacks, data from a survey by Koala shows that one in four Australians are unsatisfied with their sleeping habits and on average many run on a 5:57 hour sleep deficit per week-so an ice pack on your chest might be worth a try.  

This, of course, is just a TikTok trend, it is always best to contact your doctor with any medical concerns to do with your sleeping patterns or behaviours. 

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Do you have any tips for battling insomnia?

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