Sleep is normally preceded by a drop in body temperature. If that’s true, how could a hot tub help?
First, soaking in a hot tub helps you relax mentally while the water’s buoyancy helps decompress your joints. Your circulation increases while your blood pressure and heart rate decreases, helping you reach a resting state. In the hot tub, your body temperature rises. Yes, rises.
What happens after that relaxing soak also helps. You maintain the sense of calm and relaxation that naturally helps you fall asleep. But now, your core body temperature begins to drop as you cool down, signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Whatever the science, soaking before bedtime seems to be a universal remedy for helping people sleep.
Lack of sleep can leave you feeling nervous, groggy and depressed or cause erratic mood swings. Because sleep researchers believe that insomnia can be traced to hectic, stressful lifestyles, relaxing in a spa regularly can help.
By taking a 15-minute soak in a hot tub about 90 minutes before attempting to sleep, your body temperature can drop to enable a better night’s sleep naturally without the grogginess sometimes caused by prescription remedies.
In Japan, it’s common practice to warm up with in a Furo bath in order to sleep better. A Gallup poll of a thousand respondents found that bathing is frequently used as a natural sleep aid, and a Consumer Reports survey found that a warm bath was listed as one of the most common remedies for mild sleep disorders.
Of course, there’s a disclaimer that comes with nearly any piece of advice: Individual results may vary. Try it out. What do you have to lose other than a few unwanted hours of wakefulness?
What Else Helps?
Soaking isn’t the only way to help you sleep better.
Keep A Cool Room
You can assist the cooling process that helps you sleep by keeping your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation ; your room should also be free of noise and other distractions.
Getting regular, vigorous exercise any time of day can help you sleep better. A study at Appalachian State University also found that early morning exercise is best for reducing blood pressure and improving sleep.
Read or Listen to Soothing Music
Reading can help you shift into sleep mode, but for some people, it’s best to avoid electronic sources such as a laptop or a bright reader. The particular light emanating from the screen can activate the brain and keep you awake.
Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
A regular schedule will help you establish a body rhythm and maintain a regular sleep cycle.
Avoid eating and drinking before bedtime
And avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed. All of them cause sleep disruptions.
To learn more about sleep disorders and what to do about them, we suggest visiting SleepFoundation.org and Sleep.org by the National Sleep Foundation. It may also be time to talk to your doctor.