Is tossing and turning common before dozing off to sleep? According to a recent study, taking a warm bath might help folks get some rest.
Researchers found that a warm bath, or shower, between 104-109 degrees Fahrenheit could help people fall asleep about 10 minutes faster.
“It appeared that if you take a warm shower or bath, about 1-2 hours prior to bedtime, for about 10 minutes – so, not very long – it can have a positive impact on objective measures of sleep and also subjectively help how people feel about their sleep,” said Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study.
Dr. Mehra said the study also found that taking a warm bath reduced perceived stress levels for many people. This can be particularly helpful for those who have trouble falling asleep – which is known as sleep-onset insomnia.
Dr. Mehra said insomnia can be caused by several factors, but many times it can be a result of internalized tension, stress and anxiety. So, anytime we can find a way to reduce stress before bed, it’s worth a try.
For those having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, Dr. Mehra recommends trying methods that don’t involve medication first.
She said more research is needed to know why the relationship between body temperature and sleep exists, but experts believe there is a connection between the two.
“Our body temperature is very closely linked to our circadian rhythm,” said Dr. Mehra. “If we expose our self to a warm temperature prior to bedtime, this actually, in part, may have something to do with that core body temperature, and that linkage to our circadian rhythm.”