Can Icing Your Breasts Really Improve Your Sleep?

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
A man giving an ice bag to his wife who wants to improve her sleep

How often are you restless when trying to sleep? Do you find that you wake up in the middle of the night and have a difficult time falling back asleep? A woman on TikTok has a solution that may be able to help. All you have to do is ice your breasts at bedtime, she says, and you’ll sleep like a baby.

… Wait, what?

I am a bit of an insomniac. I have been known to get up early in the morning — like 3am early— to start working for the day. Ugh, I will lie awake just staring at my husband who is peacefully slumbering and wonder why can’t I just be like him, snoring away happily.

I haven’t really tried many techniques to try and get myself to sleep longer. I have just been sort of dealing with it. So I walk around tired, which makes me crabby. And no one wants to be around someone who’s crabby. I was curious to see how many people there are out there who are like me, and the statistics were interesting.

The American Sleep Association reports that 50-70 million Americans suffer with a sleeping disorder. That is roughly one in three people. We are talking about a huge portion of the population who isn’t getting what is considered a good night’s sleep. For an adult, that means seven to nine hours of restful sleep a night.

If you are not sleeping well, that can lead to things like fatigue, brain fog and can put you in dangerous situations like impaired driving. And no one wants any of those things, right?

So what can you do to try and remedy your sleep issues? Some people do things like counting sheep. There are breathing techniques that are said to put you to sleep in as little as three minutes. And of course there are those of us, like myself, that use over the counter medications like melatonin. If sleeping problems are particularly serious, you may need to speak to a doctor and try prescription medication

But there is a new technique that people on TikTok swear by: icing your chest to calm you down. How does it work?

@heyfrankiesimmons says that icing her breasts finally solved a problem that had been haunting her for quite sometime. And her decision to ice her breasts wasn’t based on an ancient old wives’ tale. There is actual science behind it. It really is quite interesting.

It isn’t technically your breasts that you ice, it is the vagus nerve. She explains that this is the part of the nervous system responsible for calming you down. According to her, this will reduce inflammation, essentially making you calmer and reducing stress. She also said that this can be done with a cold shower, but an ice pack is probably less jarring.

“Just put an ice pack in the center of your chest. Wrap it in a towel, lie down for at least 15 minutes, or longer if you need to,” she explained.

Yes, there are other ways to stimulate the vagus nerve. According to Allied Services, you can do this through breathing techniques, gargling water loudly, a foot massage, increasing your fiber intake, and laughing.

Allied says, “We don’t always have to let stressful situations negatively our minds and bodies. We can stimulate our vagus nerve to send a message to our bodies that it’s time to relax and de-stress, which leads to long-term improvements in mood, pain management, wellbeing and resilience.”

These are all great things to try if you want to increase your calm, restful sleep time. And if you are like me, you are probably going to give anything a shot at this point.

But what about icing the vagus nerve specifically? Should you skip the melatonin and give the icing technique a shot? It might be with a try. Just be sure to have an extra blanket to cover up tightly, because it sounds like a recipe for goosebumps to me.

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