The perfect bath time and temperature for a good night’s sleep, even in a heatwave

With a heatwave arriving in the UK this week, these tips on taking a bath before bed might just help you to get a good night’s sleep. 

Despite all the moans and groans about British weather, the UK never really knows how to deal with a heatwave. The tube becomes a moist nightmare, we all scramble to purchase fans wherever possible, and nights are spent tossing and turning in bed instead of getting a decent amount of sleep.

We all know how important that last problem is: a good night’s sleep. 

With many of us dealing with the sweltering temperatures this week, we’re already preparing ourselves for restless nights in bed. But there is hope…

Research by Biomedical engineers at The University of Texas found the best rules for taking a bath before bed in order to sleep well – and they could very well work in the heatwave.

The study reported that the optimal bath water temperature for a pre-bed soak is between 40°C and 43°C. It also showed that sleep quality is improved after bathing one to two hours – preferably 90 minutes – before bedtime. Apparently, it can hasten the speed of falling asleep by an average of 10 minutes. 

Published in the Sleep Medical Reviews journal, the report explained that both sleep and body core temperature is regulated by the brain’s circadian clock which drives the 24-hour patterns of sleep and wakefulness. So, as the body temperature is lowest while we are sleeping, the drop in body temperature after a bath helps to prepare us for sleep.

This happens because warm baths and showers stimulate the body’s thermoregulatory system, causing an increase in the circulation of blood from the internal core of the body to the hands and feet. It results in the removal of body heat and a decline in body temperature.

Previous research from the National Sleep Foundation suggests that this method also works in heatwaves. Its online guide suggests that some people “do better taking hot showers and hot baths when the room temperature is very high”.

Of course, there are also other tips you can try to beat the heatwave at bath time. 

We’ve previously reported on studies that have proven sleep techniques, including: 

– Cut down on how much alcohol you drink

– Sleep with your feet outside the covers

– Listen to “soft” classical music before bedtime

– Try to eat your last meal before 7 pm and definitely do not drink caffeine 

– Cut down on screen time before bed

If ever you needed an excuse to prune in the bath with some bubbles and a good book, this is it. 

Image: Getty

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