Why Taking a Bath Before Bedtime Helps You Sleep Better
After the last 3 or 4 baths I've taken (all 1-2 hours before bedtime) I noticed I slept significantly better through the night. My Oura ring is evidence of that. Last night I only woke up once to pee even though I'm pregnant, so that is a massive win. That's why I decided to dive deeper and research why that is, because there's got to be science behind it, and frankly I'm not sure the majority of us know the benefits of a bath taken 1-2 hours before bedtime so I'm here to share my findings and help your sleep.
First of all, this was an observation I made myself because unfortunately throughout pregnancy I've had some issues sleeping at night. It's completely normal, and seems like the majority of women don't sleep much especially in the third trimester. Mostly having trouble staying asleep due to discomfort, having to pee, rolling around (which isn't the same as before) and so forth. On evenings I decided to take a bath, I felt more relaxed going into bed and I found through my Oura Ring stats (more on it here) that I had a much more restful, deeper sleep with less wake-ups, on nights I took a bath 1-2 hours before getting into bed.
So why do baths help you sleep better?
In this clinical review, it's clear that heating the hands and feet before bath time is actually going to help overall sleep throughout the night (Science Direct). The same conclusions are founded in several other studies, including this one conducted in Japan, as well as this one. If you take in the concept of bears hibernating, this might explain why the rise in temperature and laying in bath water can really help the body get into a comfortable state, in order to be able to stay comfortable and in turn, asleep, for longer periods of time.
The second piece of this is specifically what you put in the bath. For me, I love a fancy concoction of products that mix in magnesium and a lot of delicious ingredients (like coconut, oils, etc) that will help promote better sleep too. There are many proven benefits to magnesium, which is the main ingredient in most bath products, but magnesium "binds to the receptors in your hypothalamus, affecting the release of Cortisol and adrenaline through your pituitary and adrenal glands" (The Salt Box.)
How does magnesium help sleep?
There's a lot of benefit to getting magnesium into your diet and body, on a daily basis, which is why I ingest magnesium from Cymbiotika every morning. According to Cymbiotika, magnesium impacts the nervous system, supporting a calmer and relaxed mood and it controls the firing of synapses and is critical in memory and communication. This form of magnesium helps with brain power, mood balance and memory improvement making it a great supplement at the beginning of your day. When it comes to magnesium absorbed through bath salts, this is going to absorb into the skin and calm the system at the end of the day promoting a deeper and more restful sleep.
Inadequate stress levels can also disturb your sleeping patterns. Epsom salt baths help fight these issues by allowing your body to absorb enough magnesium through the skin. The relaxing effect of an Epsom salt bath might improve sleep quality. It may even help with problems such as insomnia. (Healthsite.) The magical power of magnesium is reducing anxiety because it regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in your body. Anxiety is the main cause of insomnia, so relaxing the body and sending those signals to the brain and nervous system is key for alleviating some of those struggles during sleep.
Overall when we think of baths, we think this is a luxury (maybe some of us think it's a waste of water) but on the contrary there are so many health benefits to a bath. Mainly related to the relaxation of the body, but if you suffer from hemorrhoids (as an example) this is one of the things that can help substantially and is recommended each day to help relax the muscles and soothe the tenderness. It can also ease constipation, which in turn will of course help a hemorrhoid. Depending on the products you place in your bath (oils, coconut infused bath salts, etc) all of these ingredients will soften skin and make it more hydrated. One of the biggest things baths help with is easing muscle pain, soreness and cramps. Each of these benefits help equate baths to being extremely beneficial to overall health, but also allowing for a deeper more restful sleep.