Why nighttime showers can help us sleep better at night

The eternal debate is which shower time is superior. Yes, morning showers can wipe off the grime, help you start your day fresh, and can even boost creativity, but for insomniacs who need all the help they can get to reach REM and sleep better, nighttime showers are best. Science backs this up.

For those of us who like winding down the day with an evening shower, we can rejoice in knowing that doctors are on our side: nighttime showers are better at helping us get a good night’s sleep.

How nighttime showers improve your chance of sleeping

Nighttime showers help us sleep more quickly at night because it gets our body temperature into sleep mode. Our temperatures naturally rise during the day and fall at night to keep in sync with our circadian rhythm. Taking a warm shower before bedtime quickly raises and lowers your temperature, accelerating your cool-down.

During the sticky hot summer months, having a way to artificially cool yourself can be key to getting a good night’s sleep.

Besides helping us sleep, the steamy, hot shower can also help us release some tension from the day. But when to time it? At least 90 minutes before bed, doctors say.

“Showering 1.5-2 hours before bed will warm your body and then also allow you to experience a more pronounced dip in body temperature, which promotes sleep,” Elizabeth Culnan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Rush University Medical Center said.

You can get a similar sleep effect if you are more of a bath lover. One study found that daily bathing or a hot footbath before bedtime helped people fall asleep more quickly.

This story was originally published on August 23, 2018.

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