Lauren Castiello, MS, AGNP-C
Lauren is a board-certified adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. Before furthering her education and becoming an NP she worked as a registered nurse in inpatient oncology/bone marrow transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and most recently as a post-anesthesia care unit registered nurse in an outpatient surgery center. Prior to becoming a registered nurse, she worked in diabetes research at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Lauren has done NP clinical practicums focusing on the adolescent, adult, and geriatric populations in internal medicine, long-term care, and in outpatient oncology/bone marrow transplant. Lauren received a BA from Assumption University, a BSN from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and her MS in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
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Chances are you’ve been showering before bed without realizing the health benefits of doing it. Sure, a shower helps you wash off the day, but there’s so much more to it than that. Did you know a shower can help boost your mood? Or that it can promote better skin? It can, but the real question is, is a hot shower better than a cold shower? We’ll take a closer look at the benefits of both and whether you should take a hot or cold shower before bed.

How Does A Shower Help You Sleep At Night?

There are several benefits to bathing before bedtime — whether your water is hot or cold. Not only can it help relax you for bedtime, but the temperature variations tell your body that it’s time for sleep. Showers can do everything from relaxing your muscles to simply triggering your body into being ready for sleep. Studies have proven the efficacy of bathing or showering at bedtime. Let’s take a closer look at how this works. 

Benefits Of A Cold Shower Before Bed 

Cools body temperature

When you sleep, your body temperature lowers. By taking a cool shower before bed, you’re showing your body that bedtime is near by starting the temperature-lowering process. The cool water helps trick your whole system into sleep mode. 

Boosts immune system

When your body is in cold water, it goes through a minor amount of shock. When your body is attempting to warm itself, that shock to the system can boost your metabolism, increasing the immune system. This can help keep you healthier in the long run.

Boosts anti-depression hormones

Studies have shown that cold water can also activate the sympathetic nervous system, giving you a boost of noradrenaline and antidepressant hormones. The cold water helps the body release what are essentially good vibes into the system to promote a better mood.

Tightens skin

Cold water is excellent for tightening up the skin. It closes your pores, which can be a benefit if this is a concern for you. It also helps circulation, which can cut down on puffiness and lead to a vibrant glow. 

Benefits Of A Hot Shower Before Going To Sleep

Changes body temperature

Interestingly, a hot shower before bed can have a similar effect on body temperature that a cool shower does. With a hot shower, you’re raising your body temperature, but as soon as you get out of the hot water, your temperature drops, which signals to your body that the lower body temperature means sleep time.

Relaxes muscles

Just like putting a heating pad on muscles helps relax them, a warm shower does the same. The hot water beating down on your tense muscles from being active all day helps encourage them to loosen up and relax. More relaxed muscles mean a more comfortable sleeping experience.

Opens pores

While this skin benefit doesn’t directly affect sleep, warm water can open your pores and help promote better skin. Having skin concerns can lead to stress, so taking care of your skin can, in turn, actually help you sleep in the long run because it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

Reduces swelling

If you have any inflammation, a hot shower can help bring down the swelling. If you have swollen limbs from overuse or even pregnancy, the warm water can help calm that down and get you more comfortable for bed.

Promotes a relaxed mind

A shower calms your mind and body; it doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold. In the shower, you can shut off the outside world and focus on getting clean. This can help bring you down from a stressful day or put any irritants to the side.

Is A Hot Or Cold Shower Better Before Bed?

While both hot and cold showers have their benefits, it’s important to consider what you need the most. If you simply want to be able to sleep better, a warm shower is probably better. The temperature of a warm shower is ideal for helping the body get ready for sleep. If you’re looking for something like a mood booster or a jolt to the immune system, a cold shower might be better. Experts have said that water that is too hot or too cold can be counterproductive, so when considering a nighttime shower, don’t overdo it with the temperatures.

Final Thoughts

The benefits of showering primarily at night include the fact that it can help you sleep better. There are many benefits of both cold and hot showers, but you can choose which is best for you. The most important factor is taking that shower and letting the water work its magic in helping to give you a good night’s rest.