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Improving your sleep: Warm bath vs. cold shower before bedtime

Improving your sleep: Warm bath vs. cold shower before bedtime Improving your sleep: Warm bath vs. cold shower before bedtime (freepik.com)

A warm bath is considered helpful for achy muscles while cold showers have gained popularity in the mornings, giving a kick-start for the whole day. But when it comes to optimizing sleep - what is better, a warm bath or a cold shower? Find out on RBC-Ukraine citing Tom's Guide.

Benefits of a warm bath

Apart from being a relaxing ritual, research indicates that a warm bath before bedtime can significantly enhance sleep quality. The key lies in getting both the temperature and timing just right. The optimal time to take the bath is 90 minutes before bedtime. In the end, a warm bath could reduce the time you need to fall asleep by 10 minutes.

How it works? The natural drop in our body temperature around bedtime is mimicked by the temperature decrease after a warm bath, signaling to the brain and body that it's time for sleep. Furthermore, the relaxing nature of a bath helps slow down breathing and relieve stress, preparing the body for rest.

Benefits of cold showers

Cold showers can also contribute to better sleep, depending on the time they are taken. A cold shower contributes to releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare the body for action. But it also causes the production of norepinephrine which has an immediate warming effect on the body.

While limited scientific studies have explored the relationship between cold water and sleep, proponents argue that the sustained lower core temperature after a cold shower signals to the body that it's time for sleep. However, the presence of cortisol and adrenaline may prepare your body for activity rather than sleep.

Conclusion

Scientific evidence supports the efficacy of a warm bath before bedtime in improving sleep quality. Conversely, the research on cold showers at night and sleep quality remains inconclusive. However, both cold showers and warm baths can find a place in your daily routine. Cold showers, particularly in the morning, are a great preparation for your body for a long productive day.

We also wrote about the reasons behind disrupting healthy sleep patterns and what will happen if you sleep for only 5 hours.