Tend to forgo a bath over a quick hot shower and a wine to unwind after a long day because #toobusy? We feel you. In fact, according to a surveyfrom global hygiene company SCA in Sweden confirmed Australians are a nation of serious showerers, with 90 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men admitting to showeringevery day and often for at least seven minutes (according to Energy Australia). So while showers tend to score the most love as our go-to bathingoption, a new study could be set to shake up our evening routine, withbaths found to be better for our beauty sleep according to science. In the new study, unveiled in the Sleep Medicine Reviews journal, taking a toasty bath of an evening at least 90 minutes before bedtime will up the odds of a better nights’ sleep.
To confirm this, researchers did a mass analysis of over 5000 previous studies and found that water-based body heating (at a temperature approximately between 104 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit) in a passive form (i.e. bath) improved overall sleep quality and sleep-related conditions from length of time it takes to get to sleep, total sleep time and sleep efficiency (amount of time spent asleep to the amount of time spent in bed intended for sleep). Even more interestingly, when the bath was scheduled at least 1-2 hours before bedtime, it sped up the time it took to fall asleep by at least 10 minutes! All of a sudden baths just went from snooze fest to deep slumber, hell YES! Kind of also makes sense why our mums used to give us baths as kids, maximum shut-eye for all. So why and how do baths work better than showers? According to science, it’s all to do with our circadian clock (aka sleep cycle).
During the night, our body temperature tends to drop when we’re sleeping, at around 0.5 to 1F and an hour before bedtime, before dropping to its lowest level between the middle and later part of our sleep cycle. Then, it begins to rise again signalling as a biological alarm clock to wake-up. The beauty of bath time beforehand therefore lies in the ability to speed up the temperature cycle that assists in the sleep cycle process. By bathing and then cooling down the core body temp 90 mins before bed, it improves sleep quality as it stimulates the thermoregulatory system, causing a marked increase in blood circulation from the internal core of the body to the peripheral sites of the hands and feet, resulting in efficient removal of body heat and decline in body temperature. So, rather than reserving your bath time ritual for a lazy Sunday, light your favourite candle or a palo santo stick and enjoy a cosy soak in the tub… every night! Your sleep will thank you!