A warm shower in the evening improves your sleep
By improving sleep, training becomes more effective, athletes become faster, slimming attempts are more likely to succeed and the probability of a long and healthy life increases. Hence our interest in the meta-study that researchers from the University of Texas at Austin published in Sleep Medicine Reviews. The analysis shows that a warm bath or shower before sleeping improves sleep.
In the scientific literature, the researchers traced 11 useful studies into the effect of a hot bath or shower on sleep. They merged the results of those studies and analyzed them again.
A warm shower or a warm bath before going to sleep shortened the length of time it takes to accomplish the transition from wakefulness to sleep. On average, the test subjects were awake about 25 minutes after they got into bed if they had not bathed. If that had been the case, sleep onset latency decreased to 17 minutes.
This is a decrease of 47 percent.
If you want to enhance your sleep, the best time to take a warm shower is 90 minutes before you get into bed, the researchers conclude from the collected studies.
This makes sense. To fall asleep, your body temperature needs to decrease slightly. A warm bath or shower of a few minutes can help, because it makes the blood vessels wider. Because of the improved blood circulation in the skin, the body can give off more heat to the environment. Long-term exposure [longer than 15 minutes] to warm water, whereby the body temperature of the body rises sharply, may have no or even a counterproductive effect.
The researchers also discovered that a bath or shower seemed to increase the total sleep time by fifteen minutes. However, this effect was not significant.
The subjects normally spent 34 minutes in slow wave sleep. Had they bathed and showered, that would increase to 40 minutes. This 20 percent increase was not statistically significant.
Sleep Med Rev. 2019 Aug;46:124-35.
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