Now that it’s time for bed, what should you do to help prepare to get the best sleep possible? As you sleep and get closer to sleep, your body automatically begins to make metabolic changes to blood flow and temperature. To help promote these metabolic changes, take a warm shower to increase vasodilation at the skin (i.e. increasing blood flow). A warm shower will also give you a ‘refreshed’ feeling due to increased metabolic functions and getting rid of metabolic waste from your day.
But don’t stay too long in the shower or you may be a bit too refreshed! If you’re in the shower too long, your heart rate will go up as the warm water causes a stimulating effect. Resulting in you being more awake than when you first got into the shower. To avoid this, keep the shower luke-warm and stay in the time-range of 5–15 minutes (listen to a song or two).
Now that you’re all warmed up and in bed, your body will automatically start lowering your external skin temperature while maintaining heat at the core. Like a refrigerator, your blood circulates from the core to the skin, heating, and cooling using the outside of your body as a heat exchange. Your heat exchange is now much more efficient because you warmed up your core body temperature from the warm shower and increased blood flow to your skin.
And for those who take baths, the added pressure you get from being submerged increases cardiac output, improving metabolism. It turns out that making a habit out of ‘immersion bathing’ (taking a bath) has been shown to be associated with strengthened immune function.
If you want to give this a shot at home, take a moment to plan. Set a time that you want to go to bed, then set a reminder 30 min to an hour before bedtime to take a warm shower or bath. Remember, fall asleep in bed, not in the shower. No reading or watching movies in bed.
Interested in seeing how well this works for your sleep?
In you your Spindol sleep journal start logging your warm shower/bath as a new activity. Overtime you'll be able to track the impact it has on your sleep.