If you’re showering in the evening, you can use the temperature of your shower as a little body hack to help fall asleep faster. The key, however, is to adjust the temperature based on how soon you’ll be getting in bed.
Why does it matter? Your circadian rhythm controls a lot of things, including your body temperature throughout the day, and when you feel sleepy in the evening. Your core temperature naturally cools as the day drags on and that cooling is one of the signals that it’s time for bed. Giving the temperature variable a little nudge is the crux of this smart way to help you fall asleep faster.
If you’re showering right before bed, skip the steaming hot shower. Raising your body temperature directly before you get into bed can make it more challenging to get to sleep regardless of the time of year—although it’s certainly extra unpleasant to get into bed sauna-level hot in the heat of the summer. Instead, take as cool of a shower as you can comfortably tolerate. You’ll be simulating the natural lowering of body temperature that occurs in the evening. While the cold water might make you feel briefly more alert, when you hop into bed, you’ll likely find yourself a lot drowsier than usual.
On the other hand, if taking a cold shower before bed (or any time for that matter) has you shaking your head and ready to abandon this little circadian-hijacking experiment, don’t bail on us just yet. You can keep your hot showers (or baths) as long as you time them correctly. Instead of taking the hot shower or bath right before bed, time your shower, so you’re hopping out about an hour and a half or so before bedtime. Your body temperature will peak with the hot shower and then drift down as you cool off. That cool-down period is like an amplified version of what would happen anyway, so you can cool down and drift off to sleep more effectively.