Stress and sleep not only play a part in our health but can sometimes disrupt our breathing. According to a new study, getting more sleep and sleeping better may be as easy as taking a hot bath before bed. In the study, published in the journal Sleep, researchers in Germany suggest that a hot bath before going to bed may help to re-awaken the body’s natural rhythms to aid in quality sleep.
A study conducted by researchers from the University Hospital Munich in Germany found that the body gradually cycles from deep sleep to slow-wave sleep and awakeness every six to eight hours. Also known as REM sleep, slow-wave sleep is characterized by the rapid eye movement, or REM, phase of sleep where we dream and the research team suggest that it is essential to sleep.
“We would like to advise those who need sleep to try to take time to get outside in the morning in an indoor environment, so that they can still have the normal cycle of light and darkness. In addition, it is important to not exert yourself before bed,” according to the research team.
Interestingly, it’s also well known that hot baths are known to improve circulation, relaxation and overall well-being, though it is not widely known that it can also improve sleep and wake time. In the new study, conducted in German, the researchers found that a hot bath before bed not only reduces a person’s stress levels and headache, but also helps to re-awaken the body’s natural rhythms to aid in quality sleep.
“Hot baths of 45 minutes prior to bedtime act to reflect and regulate the ‘sleep brain network’ within the body,” according to a report in the Mail Online. The researchers created a prototype bath that looked like an egg shaped design to try and re-awaken those natural rhythms and improve sleep. The version tested in the study was made of white porcelain with a red light on top that would shine a warm light on the water.
Researchers also explain that whereas bedtime routines are complex, a special pre-bedtime ritual like this one can help improve quality sleep. As an added advantage to sleeping better, it also seems the process of inducing that experience happens just in the two minutes before the alarm goes off.