It’s common for us to associate having a shower in the morning. It’s part of our getting ready for the day routine and we often use it to wake ourselves up.
However, what about at the other end of the day? Can baths help us to unwind and relax before bedtime and actually improve our ability to fall asleep?
Science says yes
We have an internal process called the Circadian Rhythm. This is responsible for setting our natural cycles of being awake, being asleep and when we need to eat. Much of this process is linked to our body temperature.
If our body temperature is raised for some reason, the process of cooling down triggers our Circadian Rhythm into making us feel sleepy. Part of the process is reducing our heart rate, slowing our breathing and relaxing our digestive system.
Allow about an hour between bathing and sleeping
This all causes our body to feel that the circumstances are perfect for us to fall asleep.
Therefore, having a hot bath or shower before bed is a great way to prepare us for falling asleep easily. It’s important to allow enough time between the bath and going to sleep, so that our body’s are able to find their rhythm.
Having a hot bath or shower 60 – 90 minutes before going to bed will generate much better results than going to bed immediately after exposing yourself to hot water.
Can a bath help newborn babies to sleep?
Babies also have the Circadian Rhythm, though obviously it’s still developing when they are very young, and having a warm bath can help babies to fall asleep for much the same reason as adults.
However, with babies, it’s more important to establish a routine that helps their internal clocks to know when to sleep, when to be awake and when to eat.
Finding things that can get the baby into nighttime mode will be most beneficial in helping them to fall asleep. This can include a bath, and if you decide to do it, it should become something consistent so the baby associates bath time withe falling asleep soon after.