According to new research, a warm bath, before bedtime might reduce the time period before you fall asleep. This can be a win-win situation for all bath lovers, struggling with low quality sleep.
It appears that a warm bath or shower, taken at the appropriate time, can extend your sleeping time, whilst it was indicated that the quality of overall sleep will also improve.
The question which arises is why? It has a great deal to do with the lowering of the person’s body temperature.
Shahab Haghayegh, the author of the study explained that a person’s body temperature begins to decline naturally, approximately 1 to 2 hours prior to the usual time one goes to sleep, forming part of its natural cycle of 24 hours.
Shahab said that a warm bath or even a shower, can push the process in a positive direction, by enhancing the blood circulation from within the body to the outside of the body. This result in a highly efficient removal of body heat, causing a declination in body temperature.
The secret is to time and heat your bath water perfectly. Haghayegh, a doctoral candidate, studying bio-med engineering and sleep research at the Texas University at Austin stated that the temperature of the water matters.
He said that the water should not be too hot or too cold. He added that a too hot or too cold bath may have the direct opposite effect compared to what is desired. It can cause an increase, instead of a decrease in disturbed sleep and core body temperature.
The time frame is also important. Shahab said that the ideal time to take a bath for the core body temperature to cool down, for the purpose of improving the quality of sleep, whilst helping to fall asleep faster, is about 1 to 2 hours before going to bed.
Taking a bath outside this time frame, may derange the cycle of your natural body temperature, in a negative way.
After Haghayesh & colleagues analyzed the results of 17 earlier investigations, they came to the conclusion that an appropriately heated well-timed bath or shower, for about 10 minutes, can positively impact sleep.
This review can be found in the Sleep Medicine Reviews, the August issue.
The studies within the review incorporated all kinds of participants, which include: healthy soccer players, older patients suffering from sleep apnea, middle-aged patients who struggle with traumatic injuries of the brain. Some even so, focusing on cancer patients & people who have to cope with heart disorders.
Irregardless of the kind of candidate, the review disclosed that participants who had taken a well timed warm bath / shower, successfully activate a process called “water-based passive body heating.”
Doing so, shortened the period of time to fall asleep, known as sleep onset latency.
However, the duration of time, which participants were asleep, also increased. It appeared that warm baths serve as an enhancer of sleep efficiency. This means the timespan a person actually spent sleeping in bed compared to the timespan spent in bed, whilst trying to sleep.
Adam Krause, a sleep researcher, not engaged in the study, stated that a warm shower or bath, which promotes sleep, is believed for a long time. He added that it’s great to view the literature which provide support for this.
Adam Krause is a psychology doctoral candidate – Center for Human Sleep Science – studying at the California University, Berkeley.
Krause admitted that it may seem illogical, bearing in mind that it basically requires the skin to be exposed to a certain degree of heat to activate a decline in body temperature.
He added that the net result is the cooling of the brain & body core temperature, the needed hint for which the brain waits to initiate sleep.
He said that it is a simple, subtle and nice technique to assist with sleep and that it is one of his main suggestions for people who struggle to fall asleep.