Have you been having issues with sleeping at the right time? Or are you the valium-dependent type before you can enjoy sound sleep? If you respond affirmatively to the above, then you need to try something new, which is having a warm bath before bedtime.
This has been proven to be effective by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, who embarked on a meta-analytical review of 5,322 data to discover that taking a shower about 1 to 2 hours or approximately 90 minutes before bedtime, increases the rate and speed of falling asleep as much as 10 minutes.
The Texas University team in collaboration with other scientists from the University of Southern California, and the University of Texas Health Science Centre, also found a common temperature of 104 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal water temperature to promote improved sleep quality.
They asserted that sleep makes people feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting one’s mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit human heart, weight, mind, and more.
The researchers further stated the health benefits of sound sleep noting that it can definitely reduce levels of stress, which allows people have better control of their blood pressure, it’s also believed that sleep affects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.
Shahab Haghayegh, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and lead author on the paper explained in a statement that when he and his colleagues noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings, the only way to make an accurate determination of whether sleep can in fact be improved was to combine all the past data and look at it through a new lens.
The study, which was published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews used systematic review protocols, a technique utilized to search and analyze vital data, to review thousands of studies that link water-based passive body heating or showering with warm or hot water and sleep quality.
Specifically, the researchers, after analyzing known studies, found that bathing in water with temperatures of about 104-109 degrees Fahrenheit, can significantly improve one’s sleep quality.
To arrive at their findings, the scientists extracted and filtered relevant data to see the effects of water-based passive body heating on various sleep factors. These include total sleep time, sleep onset latency, subjective sleep quality, and sleep efficiency.
Sleep onset latency is how much time is needed to sleep from full wakefulness, sleep efficiency is the amount of time sleeping relative to the total length of time spent in bed trying to fall asleep, subjective sleep quality is how the person described his sleep, and sleep time, the number hours asleep.
The team assessed the consistency among the relevant researchers using meta-analytical tools. They found a common temperature of 104 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal water temperature to promote improved sleep quality.
They also found that when the warm bath is scheduled about 1 to 2 hours or approximately 90 minutes before bedtime, it increases the rate and speed of falling asleep as much as 10 minutes.
The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating body temperature. Body temperature is responsible for regulating the sleep and wake cycle. Body temperature varies throughout the day since it has a circadian cycle, wherein it’s about 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit higher in the late afternoon and late evening, than during a person is sleeping wherein it’s the lowest.
The circadian cycle of an average individual involves the decrease of core body temperature, between 0.5 to 1-degree Fahrenheit an hour before bedtime, decreasing to the lowest level between the middle and late duration of sleep.
When the temperature rises, it acts as an alarm clock. The cycle of body temperature influences the sleep cycle and it’s important to attain rapid sleep onset and increased sleep efficiency.
The study helps in providing optimal timing, about 90 minutes before bedtime, for taking a bath to cool down the core body temperature, hence, making the person sleep faster and better. Taking warm baths stimulate the thermoregulatory system of the body, promoting circulation from the body core to the peripheral areas such as the hands and feet. As a result, it removes heat from the core and in turn, lowers body temperature.
Taking warm baths at the optimal designated time will help the natural circadian process to increase the likelihood of falling asleep faster, and also, having better sleep quality.
“These findings are consistent with the mechanism of water-based passive body heating (PBHWB) effects being the extent of core body temperature decline achieved by increased blood perfusion to the palms and soles that augments the distal-to-proximal skin temperature gradient to enhance body heat dissipation,” the researchers noted in the study.
In addition to the study, researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering found that bathing 1-2 hours before bedtime in water of about 104-109 degrees Fahrenheit can significantly improve your sleep.