Take a shower before bed to help you sleep better

If you have trouble getting to sleep, try taking a warm shower before you turn in for the night. Apart from the relaxation benefits, you can trick your body into sleepy mode, by taking advantage of the way temperature affects circadian rhythms, your in-built 24 hour clock. This tip is also great when you're hot and bothered, and the heat of the night is keeping you awake .

How does a shower help me get to sleep?

1) It lowers your core body temperature A recent study showed that body temperature helps keep your internal clock in sync. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that a light sensitive area of the brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) acts as the 'master clock'. When night approaches, the SCN sends out neural signals to lower your core temperature. Although a warm shower will temporarily raise your temperature, once you step out of the steamy bathroom into a cooler bedroom your body temperature will drop. This, in turn prepares the body for other physiological changes in preparation for sleep, such as melatonin production. Study author Dr. Joseph Takahashi, explained,
"Small changes in body temperature can send a powerful signal to the clocks in our bodies,"  "It takes only a small change in internal body temperature to synchronize cellular 'clocks' throughout the body."
2) It relaxes the body and mind A warm shower is a great way to unwind after a busy or stressful day. The warm water relaxes your joints and muscles by causing your blood vessels to dilate. This improves your circulation, allowing more blood and oxygen to flow throughout your body. Warms showers are great for stiff necks and shoulder pain. Try doing some gentle neck and shoulder rolls whilst in the shower to further loosen the muscles.

Not too hot or cold

If your shower is too hot, you run the risk of raising your temperature too high, which in turn will speed up your metabolism instead of slowing it down. Cold showers before bedtime are not a good idea either. Whilst having lots of positive health benefits, your body will try to raise it's core temperature following the shock of the cold water.
photo by: stevendepolo
Jeff Mann (109 Posts)

Jeff Mann is the founder and editor of Sleep Junkies.


  • http://www.defza.com David e Freitas

    Cold water is shown to have better sleep benefits.

  • Kung Fu Fighter

    I sleep well after taking cold showers. Although I don't go to bed right after the shower, I wait an hour or two. Hot showers seem to have a negative effect and make it hard for me to sleep. The article talks about how cold shower raise your core body temperature, so HOT showers don't? lol. Ok, maybe they aren't implying you should take hot showers either, maybe luke warm? But luke warm seems like it would have little to no benefits at all. I think the reason I sleep so well after taking a cold shower is because I feel so good(refreshed/clean) and the many other psychological benefits which are very important to a good nights sleep. Plus it's easier for me to sleep when my body is cold than when it is hot. It's easy to lay under the covers and feel good, but when you are hot(from a hot shower or any other reason) it's just very uncomfortable.

  • sleepjunkies

    The idea is that when you step out of the warm shower, the rapid evaporation of the water on your skin creates a cooling effect. If you can remember back to school physics class, it's called specific latent heat.

    As the water on your skin evaporates, energy is required to convert it into gaseous form, this comes from the warmth of your body, hence you feel cooler! Here's a link with more details http://bit.ly/1ijHsVa

    • http://www.defza.com David e Freitas

      The same applies for a cold shower too them, the water still evaporates because the body is about 36 degress and the water is cooler. So it's not just true for warm showers then?