A bath before bed could lead to better sleep

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Researchers suggest a nighttime soak could improve sleep quality

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for many reasons, but actually getting a quality night of rest can be difficult for many consumers. 

However, after evaluating several different ways hot water submersion affected sleep quality, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin found that taking a bath before bedtime could help promote quality sleeping time. 

“When we looked through all known studies, we noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings,” said researcher Shahab Haghayegh. “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.” 

Why a bath could work

The researchers analyzed over 5,300 previous studies, all of which looked at ways that increasing the body’s temperature via hot water submersion affected sleeping patterns. 

Past research has shown that our body’s circadian rhythm plays a role in how we sleep, as does the body’s temperature -- which drops when we fall asleep, gets to its lowest point during the middle of the night, and then wakes the body by slowly increasing in the morning. 

Knowing that body temperature could play a role in how the body rests and wakes each day, the researchers looked at “water-based passive body heating” to establish which activity yielded the best sleep quality, including how long it takes to fall asleep, how long the body is able to stay asleep, and how long it takes the body to fully wake up. 

The researchers determined that taking a bath one to two hours before bedtime, with the water between 104 and 109 degrees, is the perfect recipe for consumers’ to achieve a full, restful night of sleep. 

In that time frame and at that temperature, consumers are giving their internal thermometers a small shock. The team suggests that this jolt, when properly timed, provides the body with enough time to properly cool down, which can lead to better sleep. The combination of time and temperature can not only help consumers sleep through the night, but it can also help them fall asleep faster in an easy, cost-effective way. 

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