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

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Hollie Richardson
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Perfect bath tempertaure

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 yet another drizzly British summer, the UK never really knows how to deal with a heatwave. The Tube becomes a moist nightmare, air-con wars divide offices everywhere, 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 the government recently announcing plans to publish official sleep guidelines, we need to seriously consider how important getting seven hours’ kip each night is for our health.

With a heatwave hitting the UK this week, we’re already preparing ourselves for restless nights in bed. But there is hope…

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New research by Biomedical engineers at The University of Texas has 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. 

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Published in the Sleep Medical Reviews journal, the report explained that both sleep and body core temperature are 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 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. 

Heatwave Sleep research
Sleeping in a heatwave: New research suggests getting a warm bath 90 minutes before bed.

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

- Exercise moderately at least 150 minutes a week

- 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

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

Images: Getty

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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