Do You Struggle Trying To Fall Asleep? Want Better Sleep?

Want Better Sleep?
There’s a biological reason why a warm bath before bedtime can improve sleep quality. iordani/Shutterstock.com

Do you struggle trying to fall asleep? Do you feel you don’t get enough sleep and you feel sleepy during the day? You are not alone. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has found that one in three American adults have symptoms of insomnia. Data show there are about 100,000 crashes each year related to drowsy driving which results in 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The Institute of Medicine reported that the long-term effects of sleep deprivation can cause serious health consequences such as hypertension, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and depression.

Many people try over-the-counter or prescribed sleep aids. But is there any way to fall asleep faster and get better sleep without medication?

I am sleep researcher and graduate student in biomedical engineering at the University of Texas. In a recently published study in collaboration with the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Southern California, colleagues and I showed that a warm bath or shower one to two hours before bedtime can significantly improve your sleep.

Warm bath, cool body

Like so many people, I had sleep problems. I struggled falling asleep, I would wake up in the middle of the night, restless and would wake up not feeling rested. I didn’t have a sleep schedule. After I started looking into the data, I realized how many people live their lives in a sleep deprived state. I was not interested in taking drugs, so that made me interested in studying about non-pharmacological methods to help improve sleep.

My team and I reviewed more than 5,000 studies related to bathing and sleep. Seventeen of these studies met our study criteria to explore the effects of warm bath or shower on sleep. We used a statistical procedure for combining data from multiple studies and to find the optimal timing for the bath.

We found that a warm bath, of around 104 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit, for as little as 10 minutes can significantly improve overall sleep efficiency. In other words, a warm bath led to more time spent in actual sleep rather than turning or tossing and trying to fall asleep, compared to usual sleep without taking bath. When scheduled one to two hours before bedtime, a warm bath can also hasten the speed of falling asleep by about 36%.

We also found that whether people reported feeling rested and like they had a great night’s sleep improved by a warm bath or shower, in most of the studies.

Want Better Sleep?
A woman taking a shower, which can also help to lower core body temperature. TORWAISTUDIO/Shutterstock.com

Why does the warm bath or shower help? There is science behind it. Our body temperature is not constant during 24 hours. It is higher in the morning and evening, and it is lowest during nighttime sleep. The body temperature needs to drop to initiate good sleep. When we take a warm bath or shower, the body brings large amount of blood flow to the surface, especially hands and feet. This blood flow brings the heat from the core to the surface and rejects the heat to the environment and causes a drop in body temperature. Therefore, if you take a warm bath/shower at the right biological time – one to two hours before bedtime – it will aid your natural circadian process and improve your sleep.

As a next step, we are now working to design a commercially viable bed system with technology that mimics the effect of warm bath. The bed of the future!

About The Author

Shahab Haghayegh, Doctoral candidate, biomedical engineering, University of Texas at Austin

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Recommended Books: Health

Fresh Fruit CleanseFresh Fruit Cleanse: Detox, Lose Weight and Restore Your Health with Nature's Most Delicious Foods [Paperback] by Leanne Hall.
Lose weight and feel vibrantly healthy while clearing your body of toxins. Fresh Fruit Cleanse offers everything you need for an easy and powerful detox, including day-by-day programs, mouth-watering recipes, and advice for transitioning off the cleanse.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Thrive FoodsThrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health [Paperback] by Brendan Brazier.
Building upon the stress-reducing, health-boosting nutritional philosophy introduced in his acclaimed vegan nutrition guide Thrive, professional Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier now turns his attention to your dinner plate (breakfast bowl and lunch tray too).
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Death by Medicine by Gary NullDeath by Medicine by Gary Null, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio and Carolyn Dean
The medical environment has become a labyrinth of interlocking corporate, hospital, and governmental boards of directors, infiltrated by the drug companies. The most toxic substances are often approved first, while milder and more natural alternatives are ignored for financial reasons. It's death by medicine.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}