Lately, we’ve seen many discussions in regards to showering or taking a bath; when it is good for you to shower/take a bath and how much should you shower after all? People usually adjust their bath time according to their own needs and lifestyle.
Some people bath in the morning, some at night, and some people do both.
However, one of the most recent questions arising regards showering or taking a bath before bedtime?
People now argue that taking a bath before bedtime improves their sleep quality, helps them fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed.
Therefore, in the following paragraphs we’re going to explore whether you should start taking a bath before bedtime, or is this just another myth.
Why You Should Take a Bath Before Bedtime?
Let’s start with the advantages and reasons you should start taking a bath before bedtime. There seem to be many many reasons in the advantage for a warm bath or shower before going to sleep, and here are some of the most essential ones;
Bath before bedtime helps you fall asleep
Studies and research have shown that a warm bath or shower can help people fall asleep faster. People who experience, for example, sleep anxiety or other types of sleep disturbances (like insomnia or even sleep apnea) have reported their sleep cycle becoming more standard and regulated after they’ve adopted the habit of taking a bath/shower before bedtime.
The reason for this lies in the fact that a person’s circadian rhythm operates in accordance with one’s body temperature. The brain relies on the temperature of the body as the main cue to entering a sleep mode or staying awake.
For example, at night, the body naturally cools down. This is a cue for the brain that it should start releasing melatonin and that is time to go to bed. However, in people who experience sleep troubles, this doesn’t really happen, or it doesn’t play a major role in the falling asleep process.
Therefore, by taking a warm bath, the body regulated the temperature, especially after you’re done with the bath.
After you’re done with the bath, the body naturally cools down more quickly after it has heated up in the bath.
As the water evaporates from your skin, the body cools down and sends signals to the brain that is time to get cozy under the blanket and fall asleep.
Bath before bedtime helps you calm down and relax
In order to fall asleep, you need to be completely relaxed. That is why people with sleep anxiety or insomnia cannot fall asleep; their minds are preoccupied with something stress-inducing, like thinking of an event from ages ago that made them sad, or thinking about the fact that they cannot fall asleep in the first place.
Studies have shown that taking a warm bath before bedtime reduces stress and makes you feel better emotionally, as well as physically. You have cleaned and cleansed your mind and body, and now you’re ready to go to sleep.
Warm water, in general, has been tested in numerous stress and anxiety therapies; the results have shown that thermal water therapy reduces physical tension and mental stress significantly. Warm water also regulates hormones related to stress, as well as promotes the reduction of anxiety and muscular relaxation.
So, if you want to start taking warm baths before bedtime, you can consider that process as having a thermal session or hydrotherapy. This is a great way to deal with everyday stress, as it will not only help you fall asleep but will help you stay mentally and physically strong throughout day-to-day stress-inducing events.
Bath before bedtime helps you disconnect
Studies have shown that in order to get a good night’s sleep, it is important for you to disconnect from the world. This means that at least two hours before bedtime, you should stop working on your computers, stop scrolling down Instagram on your phone or refrain from watching movies on the TV.
Being exposed to extra light and information reduces your brain’s ability to produce melatonin and get you into the sleeping mode. The more you stare at your phone or computer, the harder it will be for you to fall asleep.
That is why taking a warm bath before bedtime can help you disconnect from the world. In the bathtub or in the shower you cannot access your phone or computer. You have all the time in the world to focus on your self, your breathing and your relaxation.
Even if you shower for a few minutes, your brain will use this time to unplug from all the irrelevant information the Internet serves you. A warm bath is, after all, a perfect transition from all the daily stress into the land of dreams.
How to take a proper bath before bedtime?
Let’s assume we all know how to take a bath. Now, when we say how can you take a proper bath, we don’t think about the process, but rather about the very temperature of the water. Let’s take a look at which temperature is the best for a bath before bedtime;
- Taking a Cold Shower – when it comes to cold showers or baths, we don’t usually recommend them before bedtime. The reason for that lies in the fact that cold water activates your sympathetic nervous system and helps you become and stay awake. Now, that is not good if you’re about to go to sleep; you’ll have a hard time falling asleep and actually even harder time regulating your body’s temperature. Therefore, cold showers (or baths if you’re into that) are usually recommended in the morning, when you actually want to feel more awake than sleepy.
- Taking a Hot Bath/Shower – when it comes to hot baths/showers, they can have different effects, depending on who you are as a person and whether you like them or not. However, hot baths/showers are usually considered to have a similar effect to cold showers/baths. They can help you feel more energized and awake, hence being recommended for the morning. By taking them before bedtime, your body will be incredibly warm and it will take more to cool down. This will delay the sleep onset and might create problems for you.
- Taking a Lukewarm Bath/Shower – it is believed that taking a lukewarm bath/shower before bedtime is the best way to take full advantage of this bedtime routine. Lukewarm water creates enough steam to help clean your pores, nasal airway and generally feels pleasant for the skin. Lukewarm water is especially pleasant for people who experience sleeping problems due to nasal congestion, sleep apnea, snoring or allergies, as it acts as a natural decongestant.
- Timing of the bath/shower before bed – studies have recommended that you take a bath at least 90 minutes before bedtime. In that time before bath and sleep, your body will have enough time to cool down and prepare for the sleep cycle. There will be a regular sleep onset and a natural reduction of the body temperature.
In order to reach a final conclusion and answer, it is important to see the disadvantages of taking a bath/shower before bedtime.
- Increase in temperature – in the previous paragraphs we’ve mentioned that a warm bath increases the temperature of your body, but it also quickly cools down. However, many believe that this concept is just a myth. By taking a warm bath, you increase the temperature of the body drastically, making it harder for your brain to initiate the sleeping process. In order for the brain to recognize sleepiness, your body temperature needs to be down. So, the only way for you to know whether this is just a myth or an actual fact is by trying it out yourself. We believe that the effect varies from person to person.
- Might weaken the immune system – some experts argue that taking a bath/shower at night or before bedtime can actually weaken your immune system, especially if you use colder water. It is believed that taking a bath before bedtime can induce fever, cold and general temperature abnormality in the body.
- Might affect joint pain – if you’re someone experiencing chronic joint pain, or you’ve endured an injury, taking a bath before bedtime might make the pain more obvious. You might be more aware of the injured or painful area because when the temperature of the body drops down, the joint fluid thickens and the joints hurt more.
Take a bath/shower in the morning or before bedtime?
Sure, the ultimate question, in the end, is whether it is better to shower before bed or in the morning. According to the research, we have come to the expected conclusion; everyone does what fits their needs.
Note: If you’re someone who has a hard time waking up, then morning showers are for you. On the other hand, if you’re someone who has a hard time falling asleep, then taking a bath before bedtime is something you should start doing. There is simply no right or wrong answer.
However, it is important to take into consideration all the advantages or disadvantages of each showering/bath time;
Benefits of Morning Bath/Shower
- Promotes Alertness – as you wake up, you feel sleepy for a certain period afterward. By taking a morning bath/shower you will feel more alert and awake. Especially if you take a cold shower, you will feel a burst of energy and excitement for a new day.
- Stimulates Anti-Depression Hormones – a morning shower or bath can help you fight off the feeling of depression. Because water, especially cold water, activates your sympathetic nervous system, and your body enters the alert, fight or flight mode. In this mode, your body produces more adrenaline and endorphins, which act as a natural antidepressant. So, you will start your day feeling energized and happy.
- Tightens the Skin – taking a morning shower/bath can actually help tighten your skin. This happens because (cold) water helps constrict the blood vessels and tightens the pores. Therefore, it can help you reduce the morning swelling, puffiness, redness and generally gives you a healthy appearance and glow. The water also draws blood to the surface of the skin and boosts circulation.
Benefits of Bath/Shower Before Bedtime
- Alleviates headaches and migraines – taking a bath or shower before bedtime can help you combat regular and recurring headaches and migraines. Such a bath/shower can improve the blood circulation, and help any anti-headache medication take effect faster. It also helps you fall asleep faster, making your headache less and less painful as you fall asleep.
- Lowers body and muscle tension – as mentioned before, taking a bath before bedtime can help your body and muscles relax completely. The warmth and steam from the warm water can lower the body tension, especially if there is a specific area where the muscles and tense.
- Reduces anxiety and stress – bathing before bedtime can help reduce anxiety and stress. A lukewarm bath is actually ideal if you suffer from sleep anxiety, or are generally under a lot of stress daily. Bathing releases all the tension from the body and helps your mind unplug for a brief, yet a very important moment.
Taking a bath or showering is something we all do. So, to be recommended to shower or bath at a certain period in a day is quite simple to implement as a part of your routine. Regarding the main question of this article, about bathing before bedtime, we believe that yes, you should bath or shower before sleep. The advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages, and if it doesn’t suit you, you can always shift to the morning shower routine.
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