When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, you might be focusing more on your bedroom atmosphere or avoiding caffeine too late in the day. However, you also might want to start paying attention to your bathing habits, as there are a number of shower tips that can help you if you have trouble sleeping. Since showers can change our body temperature, and temperature plays a role in our body's natural circadian rhythm, you can change up your shower habits to help encourage better sleep at night and wakefulness in the morning.
"Any drop in body temperature can often help with deepening our sleep through the night," psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Alex Dimitriu tells Bustle. "There is a substantial body of research that shows if you warm up, and then cool down through the night, sleep gets deeper. Meaning, we spend more time in deep sleep rather than light sleep when we cool down. Half of this involves warming up, and a hot shower or bath before bed can accentuate this drop in temperature."
If you are someone who struggles to fall asleep at night or wakes up frequently, shifting your shower routine may be able to help. Here are five fascinating shower tips for anyone who has trouble sleeping, according to experts.
1. Take A Hot Shower At Night
Not everyone likes to shower at night, but if you have issues falling asleep at night, it might help to switch to a hot shower in the evening. Your body temperature falls when you go to sleep, so the goal is to get your body temperature to drop to help prep you for sleep. "Taking a hot nighttime shower just before bed artificially raises your temperature, and the sudden drop in temperature after the shower may help you get to sleep faster," Mattress Firm's sleep health expert Dr. Sujay Kansagra tells Bustle.
2. Use Shower Time To Meditate
Showering before bed can also serve as a meditative ritual before sleep. "The shower can be a great place to relax and unwind and be mindful of the amazing sensation of water," says Dr. Dimitriu. "Ideally, this is an 'off switch' for the rest of the night, with no more electronics or screens after." Creating a bedtime routine can help get your body and mind in the right mindset for sleep. "If showering right before bed is something you do on a routine basis, it can help synchronize your bedtime with your internal clock and help ease you into sleep," says Dr. Kansagra.
3. Don't Shower Right Before Bed
Although a warm shower can help regulate your body temperature to prime you for optimal sleep, you want to give your body some time to cool down before hitting the hay. "A hot shower just before bed might not be the best idea," says Dr. Dimitriu. "It could be too stimulating and activating." Instead, your shower would occur ideally one to two hours prior to your intended bedtime.
4. Go Into A Cool Room Afterwards
To help your body temperature drop in time for your bedtime, try keeping your room cool. This can be especially helpful if you take a shower too close to bedtime. "The ideal temperature for a good night’s sleep is 68 to 72 degrees," says Dr. Kansagra. "Whether you turn down the thermostat, use a lighter comforter, or prefer to sleep in the nude, your body sleeps best when cool. We tend to sweat while we sleep, and a cooler temperature can keep us sleeping comfortably."
5. Take A Cold Shower In The Morning
"This is a favorite trick of mine to increase a.m. alertness," sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus tells Bustle. "The cool temperature causes the body to shunt blood to the torso, and this process is very alerting to the individual." This can help keep you on a consistent wake-sleep cycle, so you feel energized in the morning and for the rest of your day, allowing you to unwind at night.
If you have trouble sleeping, considering incorporating these shower tricks into your routine for better night's rest.