Research Says This Is the Best Time to Shower—and It Can Help You Sleep Better

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By now, we all know the importance of getting our eight hours of sleep a night. But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it just doesn’t happen. If you’re stuck in a sleep rut and your specialty pillows, breezy bedding, and sleepy time tea aren’t helping, researchers discovered another remedy you should try: taking a warm bath or shower. And they pinpointed the exact hour you should do it, too.

As UT News reports, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering wanted to explore how passive body heating from a water source can affect four sleep-related conditions: 1. How long it takes someone to transition from being fully awake to being fully asleep; 2. How long someone sleeps; 3. How much time someone spends asleep in bed relative to how much time they spend in bed intended for sleep; and 4. The subjective quality of their sleep.

They combed through data from over 5,000 studies and found that taking a warm bath or shower one to two hours before bed—90 minutes is optimal—in water between 104 and 109 degrees can help you fall asleep about 10 minutes faster than normal and result in a better night’s rest overall.

It sounds simple, but their findings actually make a lot of sense. Warm baths and showers cool down your core body temperature, and body temperature helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle. The average person’s core body temperature drops between .5 and 1 degree Fahrenheit about an hour before their usual bedtime. So, if you plan a nighttime bath or shower to coincide with this natural drop in your body temperature, you’ll support the natural circadian process happening inside of your body and be more likely to both fall asleep faster and have a better night’s rest.

The next time you’re in a sleep rut, try incorporating a warm bath or shower into your nighttime routine. One simple shift in your shower schedule could make a big difference.