Simple answer? No! Why not? Bathing at night can help you relax, possibly help you fall asleep faster, and signals your brain to go to sleep. And of course you are cleaning your body! With all these benefits, why not bathe in the evening?
Why Do Some Say It Is Bad?
Some people report that taking a warm bath or shower before bed is bad because it raises the body temperature. Apparently this disrupts the body’s signal that a drop in body temperature means you should sleep. Therefore, you raise your body temperature and the body doesn’t prepare itself for sleep.
However, waiting a few hours after the bath gives your body the chance to cool down again. Therefore, most experts agree that the benefits of bathing in the evening outweigh the drawbacks.
My experience has always been that bathing at night does relax me. But some people might be different. I recommend you experiment with taking warm baths or showers and then not doing so for a few nights. Over time you should be able to determine what works best for you.
What Exactly Are the Benefits of Bathing at Night?
So although bathing in the evening will raise your body temperature, after a few hours it will drop again. This is the first benefit, because as your body temperature drops, it signals the brain it is time to go to sleep. Heat in the bath raises body temperature, and as the body cools down, it triggers relaxation.
A warm shower or bath also serves to relax the muscles, joints and the mind. For those of us with chronic pain, this warmth can provide some temporary relief from our suffering. Add in some relaxing aromatherapy, like lavender, and the benefits increase.
There have been a few studies that postulate that warm showers or baths may assist in a person falling asleep fast. A PubMed article addresses this, although the results are not conclusive. Read the article here.
Finally, you are cleansing your body! While you are cleansing, you may also be conditioning or moisturizing your skin depending on what you add to your cleansing agent. Healing itchy, dry or sensitive skin can be accomplished by various gels or lotions.
How To Relax And Get Clean
Your choice of bath or shower products will influence your experience. Decide what exactly you want to accomplish with your bath experience.
Lavender is one of the most popular scents used to relax. Many shower products, bath salts and bubble bath products contain it. So this oil should be one of your first purchases.
Other products like ginger and coconut oil and even milk can also be calming agents. I wrote an article discussing some of these products. If you want further information, see What To Put In Your Bath For a Relaxing Experience.
Shower or Bath; Is One Better Than the Other?
Personal preference plays a major factor in deciding if you should shower or take a bath. Both can have the same effect of changing your body temperature and getting you clean. However, a bath has the advantages of surrounding your whole body and letting you sit or lie down.
Surrounding your whole body provides the experience of lowering your body temperature quicker and equally distributed. And for most of us, sitting or reclining is more relaxing than standing.
Whichever mode you choose, the ideal temperature to prepare your body for sleeping is 104° to 109°F. And it is recommended to bathe 90 minutes before you go to bed. This is the optimum time that your body will be ready to go to sleep.
As stated above, the ideal temperature for bathing in the evening is 104° to 109°F. Therefore, using cold water would not achieve the desired outcome of helping your body to relax. In fact, cold water usually acts to stimulate your nerves and wake you up. So I can’t see any benefit in a cold bath or shower at night.
Here’s What You Shouldn’t Do Before Bed
Alcohol reduces the beneficial REM sleep cycles. Therefore in the morning you feel tired and confused. Stay away from it and instead try some chamomile tea.
If you are trying to relax, the last thing you need to be focusing on is work. Leave everything that has to do with work out of the bedroom. Some deep breathing and happy thoughts are what you need to fill your mind with.
The screens on our devices tell our brain to be active. Watching television also interrupts our relaxation process. A book can usually put me to sleep in a few minutes.
While exercise is a great way to assist in getting a good night’s sleep, doing it up to two hours before bed is a mistake. Your body is pumping lots of adrenaline and that interferes with sleep. Exercise in the morning if possible. That will give you a good start to a productive day.
Some say after 5 pm, others say 10 hours before you go to bed. Granted, there are some people that aren’t affected by caffeine at all, and can drink it anytime. But most of us are stimulated by it, and therefore will have interrupted sleep.
Eat fatty foods
Because fatty foods are hard to digest, your body has to work longer and harder to absorb them. This action on the part of your body interferes with being able to relax and shut down for the night.
If possible, eat a lighter meal in the evening. “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper.” This is good advice for helping you to sleep.
Take Sleep Aids
Watch out for sleeping pills; they can be addictive. Unless you have a prescription from your doctor, sleep aids should be used very sparingly.
An aside: I read that putting socks on your feet to warm them will give you a better night’s sleep. Apparently warm feet can be relaxing.
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced the sleep inducing benefits of bathing in the evening? I would love to know about your experience. And it will help others make an informed decision. Also, if you have questions, leave them in the comment section. I’ll do my best to get back to you.