Hot and cold showers serve their purpose. Whether it’s a very hot day and you wan to cool off, or you love standing under hot water, extreme temperatures can affect us in positive and negative ways.
The Washington Post spoke to several doctors who provided their expert opinion on the subject of showers and sleep. It turns out, temperature and timing play very important roles.
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“If you take a shower close to bedtime and it’s a very hot or cold shower, that temperature can negatively affect your sleep,” said sleep neurologist Rachel Salas, MD. “What you’re doing is you’re making your body temperature so different from baseline.”
Extreme temperatures appear to be the issue. Super hot or cold showers provide similar experiences, providing a jolt to your body that can be helpful in the mornings or when needing to stay alert.
Taking a warm bath or shower a couple of hours before bed can produce the opposite effect, helping you fall asleep faster.
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Experts explain that a warm shower will heat up your body. Once the water evaporates from your skin, your body will start to cool down. This feeling of cooling is one that your body naturally goes through when falling asleep, being a signal for your brain to get ready to temporarily shut down. The warm water could help you speed the process up.
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There’s a lot of freedom when it comes to showers, with people showering first thing in the mornings to feel energized, late at night to go to bed, or perhaps on their work break now that working from home is a possibility. If you’re showering with moderate temperatures, the timing of your shower makes little difference and can be used in your favor.