Do you have trouble sleeping? Taking a bath approximately 90 minutes before sleeping may help you sleep faster and better, a new study suggests. A team of biomedical engineers at the University of Texas and Cockrell School of Engineering may; discovered a way to help people having sleep problems. They found a simple method to help improve sleep – taking a warm bath one to two hours before sleeping.

The study, which is publish in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviewsused systematic review protocols; a technique utilized to search and analyze vital data; to review thousands of studies that link water-based passive body heating or showing with warm or hot water and sleep quality. Specifically, the researches, after analyzing known studies; found that bathing in water with temperatures of about 104-109 degrees Fahrenheit; can significantly improve one’s sleep quality.

Warm bath is scheduled

To land to the findings of the study, the team collaborated with the University of Southern California; and the University of Texas Health Science Center to review a total of 5,322 researches. They extracted and filtered relevant data to see the effects of water-based passive boy heating on various sleep factors.

These include total sleep time, sleep onset latency; subjective sleep quality, and sleep efficiency. Sleep onset latency is how much time is needed to sleep from full wakefulness, sleep efficiency is the amount of time sleeping relative to the total length of time spent in bed trying to fall asleep; subjective sleep quality is how the person described his sleep; and sleep time, the number hours asleep.

The team assessed the consistency among the relevant researchers using meta-analytical tools. They found a common temperature of 104 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit; as the ideal water temperature to promote improved sleep quality. They also found that when the warm bath is scheduled about 1 to 2 hours or approximately 90 minutes before bedtime; it increases the rate and speed of falling asleep as much as 10 minutes.

The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating body temperature. Body temperature is responsible for regulating the sleep and wake cycle. Body temperature varies throughout the day since it has a circadian cycle; wherein it’s about 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit higher in the late afternoon and late evening, than during a person is sleeping wherein it’s the lowest.

The circadian cycle of an average individual involves the decrease of core body temperature; between 0.5 to 1-degree Fahrenheit an hour before bedtime, decreasing to the lowest level between the middle and late duration of sleep. When the temperature rises, it acts as an alarm clock. The cycle of body temperature influences the sleep cycle; and it’s important to attain rapid sleep onset and increased sleep efficiency.

The study helps in providing optimal timing, about 90 minutes before bedtime; for taking a bath to cool down the core body temperature, hence, making the person sleep faster and better. Taking warm baths stimulate the thermoregulatory system of the body; promoting circulation from the body core to the peripheral areas such as the hands and feet. As a result, it removes heat from the core and in turn; lowers body temperature.

Increased blood perfusion

Taking warm baths at the optimal designated time will help the natural circadian process; to increase the likelihood of falling asleep faster, and also, having better sleep quality. “These findings are consistent with the mechanism of water-based passive body heating (PBHWB) effects being the extent of core body temperature; decline achieved by increased blood perfusion to the palms,” the researchers note in the study.

“Nonetheless, additional investigation is required because the findings regarding PBHWB are limited by the relative scarcity of reported research, especially its optimal timing and duration plus exact mechanisms of effects,” they added. The team is now devising a new project to formulate a commercially-viable bed system that can control the thermoregulatory function to maintain a person’s optimal temperature throughout the night.