Is there a better feeling than standing under a hot shower or slipping into a warm bath, as waves of soreness, anxiety, and stress leave the body? Probably not. After a long, tiring day, there’s little else that can help reduce bodily stress and exhaustion as much as a de-stressing bath. And guess what, it helps you sleep faster and better, too. Here’s how:
Including bathing in your bedtime routine
The circadian rhythm of the body, which controls several biological processes including the sleep cycle, is attuned to the body temperature. It wakes you up and makes you sleepier. An uninterrupted sleep, therefore, depends on this rhythm which, in turn, is dependent on your schedule. Typically at night, the brain releases melatonin and prepares the body for sleep, but a lot can get in the way: work, household chores, on-demand video series, or simply, your phone.
A nightly bath forces you to disconnect
Unless you’re completely addicted, you’re most likely not taking your phone inside the bathroom. These few minutes get the mind to unplug and help you smoothly transition from your active day to a relaxed sleep.
It’s good for the skin too
Baths are cleansing. You’re washing away the day’s grime and removing all kinds of bacteria that were tugging along with you all day. It also makes your night creams and moisturisers work better.
It is a natural lullaby
And now for the most important benefit, it makes you sleep quicker and faster. Think about it: You’ve just taken a hot shower and are now crawling into bed. You’re clean, fragrant, stress-free, and relaxed. Despite the hot shower, you will experience that your body is cooling down. It’s a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep.
In fact, a recent study monitored if bathing before bed improved the quality of sleep. It investigated the effects in 30 elderly people (ages 65-83 years) and in 30 young people and found that body movements were less frequent and the quality of sleep was enhanced.
Another study compared nine women who took a hot bath before bed with nine women who didn’t and found that the bath facilitated early sleep onset.
It’s the most important bed-time behaviour
Sundown or sleep rituals for most people include binge watching or whiling away time on the phone. But the blue light that emanates from the screen throws your circadian rhythm out of whack and forces you to feel wakeful. Therefore, for you to sleep soundly, your phone has to be soundless and hopefully, out of reach.
As a bonus, here’s a routine you must follow for a good night’s sleep:
- An hour before bed, switch off your phones and escort them out of the room.
- Then take a lukewarm bath for 15 to 20 minutes
- Once you’re out of the bathroom and relaxed, try breathing exercises or meditating for five to 10 minutes or write three things you’re thankful for in your journal
- Afterwards, crawl into bed to read a chapter of a book or talk with your partner
- Sleep well!