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The Benefits of Taking Cold Showers Before Bed

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Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

Featured image for the benefits of taking cold showers before bed.

29 April 2024 8 min read

Cold showers before bed remind us of the Titanic. At one point, you're like – “I'm so cold, Jack”. But, in the next moment, it's like – “I'm the king of the world!”. Don't worry; you won't feel like swimming in Antarctica. However, they have something in common – a deep ocean of secrets (benefits).

We tried it for thirty days, and it's good!

It is the fastest way to refresh yourself, but also the most effective way to test the limits of your endurance. Probably not for the faint of heart, but it could be a life changer if you are brave enough!

Additionally, the true effect of taking a cold shower depends on your personal preferences and goals (the same applies to warm showers.) For example, some people enjoy cold water while other are more into hot and cold showers together. On the other hand, others may appreciate the potential health benefits.

What is cold therapy?

We're not surprised that you feel like a frozen popsicle every time you step into the cold shower. However, being icy cold can be great for mental and physical health! That's right; we're talking about cold therapy. It is also called cryotherapy – exposure of the body to cold temperatures to improve sleep, health and overall wellness.

Cold showers are not the only way to undergo cold therapy. There are others, such as using ice packs, cold compresses or specialised cryo chambers.

An image of a woman showering.

It may seem like medieval torture to you now, but you will feel improved circulation, enhanced recovery, and healthier skin and hair after it. It is no wonder that more and more people are becoming interested in this therapy. So, gather courage and try this freezing phenomenon!

Tip: It should last short or alternate with hot showers or hot baths; never be exposed to cold water for a more extended period.

Physical benefits of taking cold showers before bed

It's an excellent way to conclude the day. Cold water improves circulation and reduces inflammation, resulting in faster healing and better sleep (sleep-wake cycle improvement.) The cold shower participates in the regulation of core body temperature. Consequently, it can be effective for anyone who wants to improve their physical and mental health.

Increased metabolism and potential weight loss

Did you know that our body has two types of fat?

You must be wondering now – how to activate brown fat. You need to speed up your metabolism and promote weight loss. Easier said than done.

Cold showers have actually been found to activate brown fat, but not only that. They also stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the “fight or flight” response. In this way, there is an accelerated heartbeat, improved circulation and – guess what, an accelerated metabolism!

Improved circulation

Showering with cold water definitely improves blood circulation throughout the body. How? Cold water forces our body to produce additional energy for its heating. They help the blood to come inside the body to the organs. This will ultimately improve the health of the cardiovascular system. In this way, you can prevent leg swelling, cellulite, weakening of capillaries and acne.

Poor circulation slows or blocks blood flow. As a result, the cells in your body can't get enough of the oxygen and nutrients they need. The most common causes of poor circulation:

In addition, prolonged sitting is characteristic of modern jobs and a potential cause of poor circulation. So, get up and take a quick cold shower!

Better skin and hair

Water is our everyday friend, and we like to drink it cold. Warm water is not the best choice in the beauty routine either. In fact, it does more harm than good. What is the relationship between hot water and skin and hair care?

Water that is too hot:

On the other hand, cold water improves circulation and increases the flow of nutrients and oxygen. Skin cells regenerate faster. It stimulates the production of collagen, which is essential for increasing skin elasticity and reducing wrinkles. It also temporarily relieves swelling. Due to the better distribution of nutrients, hair loss is also reduced.

Reduced inflammation and pain

The very thought of cold water causes chills and discomfort to most. However, athletes often use ice baths after training to reduce inflammation and sore muscles. A similar effect can be achieved by taking a cold shower after exercise. What is the process? It's simple.

The body cools down, the blood vessels narrow, and blood flow to the affected area decreases. Don't worry; you won't be completely numb – just the part of your body you expose!

This brings us to the fact that a cold shower can accelerate the body's recovery after greater physical exertion. It also prevents the occurrence of larger muscle inflammations.

An image of a woman taking a shower.

Emotional and mental benefits

It is enough to afford a simple, cold shower and instantly feel better.

We believe you'll agree after reading what it does for your mental health.

Cold showers before bed prevent depression and anxiety

A cold shower is not just an activity for eccentric adventurers like Wim Hof. It is equally popular with celebrities like Lady Gaga. And who wouldn't want to do everything possible to replicate the incredible physique or dashing looks of an A-list star?

If you are also a sensitive person who goes through daily difficulties, you need something to activate your sympathetic nervous system. A cold shower will increase the heart rate, improve blood flow to the brain and train it to cope better with stress.

As you know, anxiety and depression are the leading causes of poor sleep. Fortunately, applying cold therapy a few times is enough to feel happier, healthier and more relaxed.

Better sleep quality and duration

Do you want to reduce the chances of accidents, mood swings and poor concentration? Of course, you want to.

How? Create a good bedtime routine and sleeping environment. Try making a few modifications to your evening routine in addition to maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Showering is the first step in getting ready for bed.

Before bathing in cold water, the ancient Romans passed through several heated rooms. There is undoubtedly something we can learn from them. The cold temperature of the water stimulates blood flow, lowers blood pressure and make you fall asleep faster.

Start with warm water and gradually lower the temperature if you add a cold shower to your routine. If you stick with it, you'll know what we're talking about.

An image of a shower head.

Tips for making cold showers before bed comfortable

It can be challenging at first, but you will overcome all difficulties with a few tricks. Remember, cold showers are not for everyone. Hence, listen to your body and stop if you feel uncomfortable or experience any adverse effects.

Gradually decrease the water temperature

Do not rush. You will notice more advantages if you give your body enough time to adapt to hot or cold showers. If you intend to take an icy shower, do so in the next few steps.

Tip: Cold water tolerance varies, so adjust the temperature to your personal preference.

Focus on breathing and relaxation techniques

Taking a chilly shower before bed can be relaxing, but only if your body is used to it. Otherwise, it can be shocking. To avoid discomfort, try the following breathing and calming techniques.

Overall, breathing and relaxation techniques will make your shower pleasant while providing you with mental and physical benefits. It reduces stress and anxiety, increases mental clarity, contributes to physical recovery and encourages quality sleep.

Use aromatherapy and essential oils

You must have wondered about the effects of some of the best essential oils on your mood.  Okay, you know you will smell something pleasant. But what happens later? The receptors communicate with the part of the brain that controls emotions, memory and response to stress. Now you probably know how essential oils affect emotions.

For example, lavender. It is known for its comforting, soothing and relaxing effect. It can prepare you for cold therapy in just a few steps:

  1. Choose an essence
  2. Dilute it with a base oil
  3. Apply essential oil
  4. Take a shower
  5. Inhale deeply and exhale the scent of the essential oil

Tip: Before applying essential oils directly to the skin, mix them with a carrier oil (such as coconut or almond oil). After applying the diluted essential oil to your body, take a shower.

An image of a woman showering.

Conclusion

Your bedtime routine can include anything from peaceful activities like yoga, literature, and meditation. But don't forget the cold showers before bed technique to avoid reducing core temperature too much!

According to research, it boosts blood flow, the immune system, sleep, and weight loss. Anyone who follows a skincare regimen will adore it. It also helps with breathing issues. How to get used to it?

Remember, the habituation process must be gentle and gradual. Then the body will get used to perceiving the ice bath as a routine and valuable technique.

And you don't have to choose between a hot or cold shower – you can enjoy both.

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References & resources

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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