How a simple hot shower can help you sleep better
In a perfect world, I would spend my days in a spa, soaking in hot baths, getting a massage, and getting my nails done. But it’s not a perfect world ! and even if I had the dollars in my pocket, I wouldn’t have the time to visit a spa.
Constantly keeping up with the daily ordeals whether it’s the tireless nature of your work or the thankless duties of motherhood ultimately prevents you from giving your body a much-needed break. Sometimes after a long stressful day, a simple remedy like a hot shower can satisfy your tense muscles.
From decreasing blood pressure, burning calories, relaxing muscles, and relieving stress there are numerous physiological benefits of Hot showers. The right water pressure coupled with the soothing hot water can ease our body both physically and mentally and a relaxed body and mind are our key to a good night’s sleep.
Simply put hot showers have two types of effects on your body; Physiological and psychological. Want to know more? Here are a few proven benefits of Hot showers and why they help you sleep better.
Lowers your blood pressure:
Our bodies work in mysterious ways. Strenuous activity can have adverse effects on your body and health if not dealt with in the right way. Perhaps you’re late for work, can’t understand an important lecture in class, or your kid demands that expensive Lego you can’t afford.
Your brain detects the stress as a stimulus and uses it to interpret a potential danger. Ultimately it directs your hypothalamus to release stress hormones that prepare your body for action. Your breathing intensifies, heartbeat quickens and your blood vessels constrict to divert the oxygen to your muscles.
Unfortunately, this simple protective mechanism causes a drop in blood pressure and increases the tension in your muscles. Moderate to low blood pressure is ideal in most situations, however, depending on age, genetics, and other health conditions it can prove to be detrimental for some of us. Different people have different tolerances to stress levels and the way they handle it.
We have adapted to various ways of dealing with our daily stress. For most of us a hot shower at the end of the day, right before we go to bed can do the trick Hot showers decrease our blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels. This eases up our muscles and gives us a blissful escape from our material world.
Controls blood sugar level:
While the advancements in the pharmaceutical fields have provided a range of health-hacks for minor health problems like irregular blood sugar levels. However, relying on medication doesn’t come without side effects. Eventually, your body will build a tolerance to the medication which throws your only hope of a quick fix out the window.
Interestingly studies have proposed that hot showers tend to keep your blood sugar levels at bay. When it comes to the impact it has on your health some researchers have gone as far as to compare hot showers with regular exercise
A Loughborough University research study conducted on indolent adult males suggested that soaking in hot baths for about an hour had encouraging effects on blood sugar level and limited inflammation. Candidates were observed to have a 10-percent decrease in blood sugar level.
While doing your daily laps, drenched in sweat you will often find yourself wishing there was an easier way to stay in shape, does losing calories have to be so hard? Not really.
Recent studies have also proven that Hot showers have the same impact on burning calories as a 30-minute long walk. So, the next time you want to skip that morning walk to spend a few extra minutes in a relaxing hot shower, you’d still be making a healthy choice.
For some of us, our busy schedules don’t allow the leisure time for nor a workout session, neither a relaxing massage. So, kill two birds with one stone with a simple hot shower.
Healthy skin is the talk these days. From branded 10 step Korean skin essentials to dietary habits you will find teenagers and adults alike indulged in all possible hacks for healthy glowing skin. clearer skin may have a serious impact on the way you carry yourself and your confidence.
What most people don’t realize is that healthy skin is an equivalent of your routine skincare habits. A simple step like switching to a hot shower will help you solve that dinginess you can’t seem to deal with.
Hot water opens up your pores so that all the stored dirt and oils from the day can wash away with clean water and soap. This leaves you with a cleaner, fresher looking skin once you step out of the shower.
If constant headaches are what keep you up all night then you’d be delighted to know that hot showers are a satisfactory antidote for most types of headaches. Headaches are a result of the narrowing of the peripheral blood vessels in your head. A Hot shower can help open up these blood vessels to allow better blood flow. This can be a healthier alternative compared to those painkillers you’ve been taking.
Improves cold or flu symptoms:
At least twice a year, especially during the winter season you are likely to experience a stuffy nose, dried-up throat, sneezing, and coughing. All of which are symptoms of the common cold and flu. If your someone like me and would rather let your immune system deal with the problem instead of using temporary means, then there are numerous natural ways you can initiate and equip your immune system to help you recover.
One of them is a Hot shower. You will loosen chest congestion while the hot steam can help you clear your stuffy nasal passages and even wash away the germs on the surface of your skin to avoid spreading. Micro-organisms tend to thrive is their ideal temperature and conditions. When you increase your body temperature, they will periodically become dormant which allows your immune system to deal with them faster.
With an increase in stress levels our sleep schedules normally go out the window. As time has passed and economic evolution has made things more and more complicated the common folk are subjected to an intense amount of stress to provide basic means for themselves and their families. Adopting healthy habits like hot showers is important to dilute the building up of pressure.
German studies have shown that participants felt an instant uplift in their moods after a 40C bath for about 30-minutes. Along with overall health prosperity hot showers also help you experience an improvement in the quality of sleep. This can be associated with a boost in overall body performance. When your body feels good the balance of chemicals brings a level of stability to your brain functioning. Controlling blood pressure means you will experience less anxiety. The relaxation of muscles stimulates a release of the happy hormones.
Improved quality of sleep is something we all strive for, even if a long hard day at the office doesn’t tire you enough to fall asleep then there is a chance that you’ve brought your work stress back home. Our mind-body connections allow these emotions like stress and contentment to impact our bodies. Keeping our circadian rhythms in check may enable our bodies to achieve an 8-hour long sleep at night.
Why you should always shower before going to bed:
Taking a hot shower awhile before you doze off can prove to be a significant improvement for your sleep. Researchers have suggested that 60 to 90-minutes before going to bed taking a hot shower at a temperature of about 104 to 109F can help you achieve optimal sleep. Physiological findings have determined that sleep onset latency which is the time between full wakefulness and sleep, and the core body temperature are closely related.
Our bodies adapt to not just our environments but also our routines. Your body prepares you to carry out functions all round the clock. Body temperatures rise up a few degrees in the late afternoon to evening and it becomes the coolest during sleep. This natural regulation of internal conditions is known as the circadian clock.
Sometimes after a hot shower, the increased blood circulation to the peripheral blood vessels helps get rid of your excess body heat. In comparison taking a cold shower can have the opposite effect, because this will lower your body temperature and cause your body to go in a fight-or-flight mode. So perfectly timing your baths so that your body can reach the perfect temperature for sleep just in time is important if you want to achieve a night of more peaceful sleep.
Comparison between hot & cold showers:
It’s interesting how a simple habit like showering can help maintain your full body functioning and health in addition to having a significant impact on your mood. A cold morning shower can activate your body and make you more energetic. So, if you have trouble waking up in the morning, a cold shower is exactly what you need.
Nevertheless, cold showers can increase the intensity of cramps and muscle stiffness. This is bad news for those with serious neck sores and back-aches. The ladies will agree with me when I say that hot showers are our best friends during that time of the month. They can instantly relieve period cramps by relaxing your muscles and increasing blood flow. So, after a long tiring day, it is probably wise to opt for a hot shower rather than a cold one
Precautions to take with hot showers:
While they may be therapeutic, hot showers can still have negative impacts on our bodies if not regulated in a timely manner. Over showering in hot temperatures can dry out your skin and even cause dandruff and dryness on your scalp.
The epidermal layer of your skin houses a collection of keratins producing cells. Pouring hot water continuously on your skin disrupts them and prevents the storage of moisture between your pours. While oily skin can have adverse effects of its own, however the keratin layer on our skin is vital to the basic performance of skin. As a result, dry patches and itchiness can accompany you throughout the night.
People with skin conditions like eczema are especially advised to be precautious with long and hot showers. Cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure conditions can also be worsened as a result of hot showers. In such conditions its wise to run your shower routines with your doctor before applying them. You can never be to cautious when it comes to your health and wellbeing.
To Sum up
Both Hot and cold showers can help your body perform better to make the most out of your daily routine. However, regulating the temperatures of your shower according to your bodily needs is important to help showers play a beneficial rather than a counterproductive role. Listening to your body is important. So even if you’re on the clock, have a tight schedule or generally have a lot on your plate, you should take the time out every now and then to treat yourself and relax your body with Massages, hot showers, and bubble baths.
As best described in the book ‘Your life’ (a practical guide to happiness, peace, and Fulfilment): “Your body is your best guide”
Taking care of your body can often be more than we can ask for, however, you must remember that major health problems are a collective outcome of unhealthy habits that build up over a long period of time. Hard work and consistency can only really be achieved if your body is in its best condition to allow you to take on the daily tasks with a fresh spirit and mind.