Wellness

The Exact Time You Should Take a Shower for Optimal Sleep


I don't need fancy research to tell me that showering is a great way to unwind, but the science really is there: FromВ boosting productivityВ to increasing energy, studies show thatВ the benefits of a great scrub-down go well beyond cleanliness. And now, we can add a good night of shut-eye to that ever-growing list.

Time asked a panel of experts for their opinion onВ how to time a shower for optimal sleep, and it turns out there really is a science to it. For example, you actually don't want to showerВ right before bed, since we actually sleep better at a lower body temperature. Instead, Dianne Augelli, MD, of the Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says it might be a better strategy to give yourself a few minutes after toweling off before tucking yourself in. "Cooling down is a signal that tells us we're supposed to go to sleep," Augelli says.В

And there's actually substantial research to support this idea.В Studies showВ that warming your body with a bath can significantly induce sleepВ because when you step out, your body temperature drops-leaving your eyelids droopy in effect.

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As for the magic numbers, sleep specialist Shelby Harris suggests taking a 20-minute shower about 90 minutes before you plan to go to bed. Our tip? Step in after dinner, and when you get out, reach for a book instead of the remote-that way, you aren't negating the sleep-inducing effects of your shower with sleep-reducing screen time.В

Check out more expert-approved tips for better sleep.