How an Evening Shower Can Improve Sleep
You've heard it before: The average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than a third of us need to catch up.
While the amount of sleep we actually need to be our best varies from person to person, you probably need more shuteye if you're frequently tired, irritable, or have trouble remembering things.
One of the most straightforward fixes? Add a pre-bedtime shower to your evening routine. Whether you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, a nighttime rinse can help improve the quality of your z's.
The Benefits of Showering at Night
Let's take a look at the benefits of showering before bed—and other ways you can create the ultimate restful evening ritual.
Showering Regulates Your Body Temperature
Your body naturally cools down as it prepares for sleep, in sync with its circadian rhythm. When you hop in the shower, your body temperature rises slightly with the hot water, then drops just before bed.
That subtle fluctuation in temperature helps signal to your brain that it's time to wind down and start preparing for sleep. Scientists even have a name for this phenomenon. They call it the “warm bath effect”—though we prefer to think of it as the warm shower effect.
Aim to shower one to two hours before bedtime and keep the water between 104 and 108.5 degrees Fahrenheit to get the most out of your evening rinse. Research shows that doing so may help you fall asleep faster.
The hai smart shower head can help you set your water to the perfect sleep-supporting temperature. Use the hai app to set your temperature preference and receive alerts via your phone and the LED light on your shower head when your shower water has reached it.
Showering Relaxes Your Muscles
One of the biggest reasons a warm shower before bedtime feels so darn good? Heat is great for muscle soreness. It warms up your muscle fibers, making them looser and more pliable. As your muscles relax, so does mental tension.
While cold water is generally better for new and acute injuries, warm water is excellent for easing post-workout soreness and general day-to-day tightness. A warm shower expands your blood vessels to increase blood flow to any affected areas and transport soreness-inducing lactic acid away from your muscles.
If you have a handheld shower head, you can target muscles directly. Use your hai shower head to apply gentle pressure and relieve tension in any extra sore areas.
Showering Promotes Relaxation
Taking a warm shower at night can have a surprisingly significant effect on your mental health. Research suggests that hot showers can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. That's because heat prompts our brains to release the happy hormone oxytocin, which, in turn, reduces stress.
You can get even more calming benefits from your shower by adding aromatherapeutic and relaxation-promoting active ingredients to your nightly rinse. The Relax Infusion from hai includes French lavender, vitamin B12, and sandalwood to promote quality sleep and ease inflammation.
So what do these super ingredients do?
French Lavender improves sleep quality and encourages relaxation.
Vitamin B12 relieves sensitive and stressed skin.
Sandalwood calms the mind and relieves anxiety.
We designed Infusions as innovative tabs that you can add directly to your shower's water stream. Simply place your Infusion in the Fuse attachment on your hai smart shower system at any point during your shower to enjoy the benefits of an activated and empowered shower.
Hot vs. Cold Showers: Which One is Better for Sleep?
While a cold shower has a number of benefits—including activating the immune system, promoting focus, and accelerating metabolism—it may not improve sleep quality because of cold water’s stimulating properties, according to the Sleep Foundation. Cold water immersion raises levels of cortisol and norepinephrine, known for boosting alertness. So it may be best to save those cold showers for the morning.
More Ways to Upgrade Your Bedtime Routine
While showering is our favorite self-care ritual, it's just one part of a well-rounded bedtime routine. Here are three more ways to unwind from the day and prep for a restful night.
1. Set a Bedtime Alarm
You might already set an alarm to help you get up in the morning, but setting one to remind you to start getting ready for bed may be just as important. Try scheduling a reminder one to two hours before bed to give yourself plenty of time to perform your wind-down rituals.
Sticking to a consistent schedule is vital for getting healthy, restorative sleep. That means going to bed at the same time every day—even on weekends. Our bodies naturally start slowing down for rest several hours before our heads hit the pillow. A consistent routine will help train your brain to get sleepy just in time for some shut-eye.
2. Limit Your Exposure to Artificial Light and Screens
When you have a lot on your plate, you may want to keep grinding until the clock strikes midnight and you officially turn into a pumpkin. But it's crucial to start signaling rest to your body well before it's actually time to sleep by limiting your exposure to bright light sources.
Several hours before bed, dim the lights in your home. Switch from harsh overhead lights to gentler lamps with amber-hued bulbs. If you’re particularly sensitive to light, try one of these light bulbs designed to help you fall asleep.
Because the blue light emitted by electronic devices can be particularly disruptive to your sleep cycle, try to cap your screen time several hours before bed. And Make your bedroom a screen-free zone. Keep your room cool, dark, quiet, and free from distractions to create the perfect sleep oasis.
3. Practice Stress Reducing Techniques
It’s the end of the day. You’ve checked off your to do, and it is finally time to sleep. There's just one problem: Your brain has decided now is the time to fixate on all the work, family, and social stress in your life.
If you have trouble switching off, stress relief activities like a gentle walk, yoga, or meditation can help shift your mind from go mode to go-with-the-flow mode. If you really can't stop ruminating, write your thoughts down in a journal to physically shelve your obligations until morning.
Better sleep comes down to good habits that support your body's natural needs and rhythms. If you struggle to fall asleep—or just want better quality sleep—try putting these tips into practice for sweeter dreams and better mornings.