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Why is it beneficial to take a hot bath before bed?

We've heard that having a hot bath before going to bed helps people sleep better.

By Míriam GuaschPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

The reasons behind this, however, remain unclear. That is why, on this occasion, we will explain why it is beneficial and when it is ideal to do it.

One of the advised ways for improved sleep is to take a hot bath before going to bed. While it may not be a cure-all for persistent disorders like insomnia, it does seem to be an effective assist in initiating sleep and enhancing sleep quality.

In fact, a systematic study performed by Shahab Haghayegh, a researcher from the University of Texas' Department of Biomedical Engineering, confirms the advantages of having a hot bath and advocates doing it at a specified time before night. Do you want to learn more about it?

Why can taking a hot bath help you sleep better?

Taking a hot bath before bedtime, according to Haghayegh's thorough investigation and his team, helps to adjust the internal body temperature, encouraging relaxation. The researchers analyzed 5322 papers and employed at least a dozen with more strong approaches to achieve their results.

The final analysis, published in Sleep Medicine Reviews, suggests that having a hot bath at a temperature between 40 and 42°C around 90 minutes before going to bed improves sleep. It seems to help people fall asleep 10 minutes quicker than normal.

These conclusions were reached after examining the effects of "passive water-based body heating" on a variety of sleep markers, including:

- Sleep onset latency is the amount of time it takes to go from full awake to sleep.

- Sleep effectiveness.

- Sleep quality as perceived by the individual.

Sleep and body temperature

Over time, scientific study has shown that circadian rhythms govern processes such as sleep and core body temperature. As a result, it has been discovered that body temperature rises by 2 to 3 degrees towards the end of the day or evening. However, it is lower during sleeping.

As the time to sleep approaches, the typical person's body temperature drops by 3 to 6°C. The lowest level occurs between the middle and late stages of sleep. As the alarm clock approaches, the temperature starts to increase once again.

Taking a hot bath seems to chill the body by promoting blood circulation from the core to the periphery, i.e. the hands and feet. When this occurs, the pineal gland produces melatonin, which causes sleep.

Some may ask why hot water is used instead of cold. Although using cold water to reduce the temperature may seem more rational, the method is not the same. Cold water stimulates the body's fight-or-flight reaction, improving attentiveness. As a result, the prescription is straightforward: take a 10-minute hot shower 90 minutes before going to bed. However, since the data is relatively limited, caution is advised

We must not forget that taking excessively hot baths has negative side effects.

What more can we do to improve our sleep?

As we've seen, taking a hot shower might be an option when you're having trouble sleeping. However, there are some more suggestions that might help us sleep better. This may include, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the following:

- Keeping a regular sleep routine. That is, even on weekends, having the same bedtime and wake-up time.

- Avoiding extended afternoon naps. A 20- to 30-minute siesta is enough. It's recommended to avoid them if you're having trouble sleeping at night.

- Participating in physical activity. Exercise, both moderate and strenuous, has a positive influence on sleep.

- Creating a relaxing and calm atmosphere in the bedroom. It is critical that the bed be clean and comfy. Distractions such as mobile devices, TVs, laptops, and so on should also be avoided.

- Avoiding the use of stimulants including alcohol, smoke, and caffeine.

- Trying out some calming activities. Reading a book, meditating, performing breathing techniques, and listening to natural sounds are some examples.

Finally, it is important to note that if you constantly have trouble sleeping or have insomnia, it is preferable to get expert aid. A sleep disorder expert may assist in determining the underlying reason and providing suitable therapy.


About the Creator

Míriam Guasch

Hello, I'm Miriam! Enthusiastic pharmacist passionate about well-being, vegan food, nature, animal lover, avid traveler, ecologist. Excited to learn and share!

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