Do you like relaxing in a warm bath before bedtime?
You’re in good company – US researchers have found that taking a hot bath or shower (40 to 43 degrees Celsius) about 90 minutes before bedtime is a good way to ensure a solid night’s sleep.
The team at the University of Texas decided to analyse more than 5000 existing sleep studies to combine all the existing data and conclude once and for all what the relationship is between showers/baths and sleep quality.
“When we looked through all known studies, we noticed disparities in terms of the findings,” said Shahab Haghayegh, a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and lead author on the paper.
“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 team reviewed 5,322 studies and looked at things like the time from full wakefulness to sleep, total sleep time; the amount of time spent asleep relative to the total amount of time spent in bed intended for sleep; and subjective sleep quality.
They found that taking a bath of 40-43 degrees C at one to two hours before bedtime, could hasten the speed of falling asleep by an average of 10 minutes.
Many people also find a bath or shower relaxes sore muscles, eases the pain in joints, and improves oxygen and blood flow.
The research team is now working with the university’s office of technology commercialization to design a commercially viable bed system with selective thermal stimulation technology.
This would allow the sleeper’s thermoregulatory function to be manipulated on demand and dual temperature zone temperature control that could maintain his or her optimum temperatures throughout the night.