We're willing to try anything at this stage.
Falling asleep is a frustratingly inexact science. For some people, nodding off is as simple as laying their head on the pillow, while for others, it’s the biggest challenge they face every day, leaving them to spend the night tossing and turning. And while the growing body of research into the “perfect night’s sleep” might point to our phones, tablets and laptops as the source of our sleepless nights, switching off our devices (while great) doesn’t always make the process of falling asleep any easier.
Instead, if you’re looking for a tangible way to make falling asleep a faster (and easier) process, it might be time to consider taking a hot shower before bed.
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Research has shown that having a hot shower one to two hours before you plan to go to bed can make the process of falling asleep easier. In the study conducted by Matthew Walker, taking a warm shower 90 minutes before bed helped test subjects to fall asleep 50 per cent faster and increased their total sleep by 15 minutes.
Not only does the warm water help to calm you down and make you more relaxed by helping to loosen up your muscles, but it also helps your body to raise its core temperature. This is important because the relationship between sleep and temperature is a key one: the drop in your core temperature triggered after you get out of warm shower signals our pineal gland to begin the production of melatonin, a hormone which plays an essential role in our daily cycles of rest and activity. That it’s a comforting end to cold, winter nights is a bonus – as is the fact that your sheets won’t serve as the final resting place for the grime of your rush-hour commute.
Your shower gel has a part to play too, as products that are citrus-infused can reduce your blood pressure and sink your cortisol levels, making falling asleep even easier.
With 90 minutes before bedtime being the optimal time for a shower, this means you should get in the shower at around 8:30 pm, allowing you to be in bed and asleep by 10 pm. "Why 10 pm grandma?", we hear you cry – well, 10 pm is thought to be the perfect bedtime as it enables you to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep you need to be productive in your day-to-day life.
Main image by @dreamhampton1