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Last updated on: February 6th, 2020
Most people only connect the act of taking a shower to good hygiene and cleanliness. Beyond this obvious point, not many understand or wish to even recognize that different temperatures of different showers can affect sleep quality and energy levels.
There are connections between the temperature of the showers you take, your body temperature, and how both affect your sleep and energy levels that should be considered if you value your sleep quality and energy levels. It is indeed possible to “manipulate” your energy levels and sleep quality, at least on a small scale.
Body temperature – A general overview
This diagram provides a very quick and general analysis of what the body does when somebody’s body temperature is altered. It will be referred to a few times in relation to sleep quality, the temperature of a shower, energy levels, and sleep quality.
Image from Khanacademy.org
As defined in this Wikipedia article, adult humans should have an average body temperature of around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. This is what the body requires to function properly when awake. If body temperature dips below 95 degrees, the body enters a state of hypothermia, where, as described in the diagram, blood vessels will constrict, attempting to retain as much body heat as possible. The reverse happens when body temperature gets higher than 99 degrees.
So far, this is not new information and anybody who got past junior high school probably knows this. How does this pertain to the type of shower you take, and how does it pertain to your sleep quality and energy levels?
What happens to body temperature when you sleep?
The first answer to this question is to understand that the entire point of sleeping is to rest and replenish lost energy. To do this, it is ideal for body temperature to be optimized to where it is not too high or too low. If body temperature is too high, it will be difficult to sleep because the body is constantly trying to lower its temperature by sweating.
Similar things can happen if it is too cold. If you have been in an area where it is unusually cold, your body knows that it is too dangerous to go to sleep because it needs to stay awake and produce enough body heat to maintain things properly. It knows that it needs to stay awake in order to heat itself up properly.
This is what people mean when they say that they are “tired, but not sleepy.” They feel this way because when the body is fighting to maintain a decent temperature, it is in a state of discomfort and knows that it cannot go unconscious without the risk of hypothermia or hyperthermia.
What happens to body temperature when you shower?
The purpose of a shower is not just hygiene. The temperature of the water in a shower can affect your body temperature, at least in the short term. It is indeed possible to “manipulate” your body temperature with the temperature of your shower or bath.
Cold showers have been increasing in popularity, as they are slowly being discovered as a way to provide a shock of sorts to the body, lowering it just enough and just the right time period to where it can provide a slight spike in energy. A cold shower will cause your body to constrict as it struggles to heat up. This can raise energy levels if you feel lethargic and are actually ideal if you are very active or just waking up.
There is a method of taking cold showers. Starting the shower with cold water will make the shower too uncomfortable, and will likely result in you not wanting to continue the cold shower. It is much better to start the shower warm then lower the temperature.
If a shower is unusually hot, it can also “shock” the body, but in a different way. If you are in a cold environment and need to wake your body up, a hot shower can accomplish this.
This leaves warm showers. What effect on body temperature does a warm shower have? Warm showers tend to be relaxing and are actually effective to take before going to bed. A warm shower, and especially a warm bath, will calm your body down if it has been in environments that have been very hot or very cold and will often bring your body temperature back to normal levels fairly quickly.
Putting this all together
Image from GoodandBed.com
Sleep habits and managing your energy is very important, and there are many ways to manage these. Knowing when to take a hot shower, a cold shower, or a warm shower is one of these.
Before going into what kind of shower you should take (read more here), it is important to know what kind of temperature you should maintain in your bedroom for optimal sleep quality. While the temperature of the rest of the house is quite negligible, it is important to maintain a temperature in your bedroom that helps you maintain your body temperature.
If you are a heavier person, you may want the bedroom to be a bit colder than the other rooms. You can do this and save energy by closing the central air conditioning vents in your house (if this is applicable). Then adjust your temperature accordingly. This should be reversed if you are a lighter person.
Before going to sleep, adjust the temperature in your bedroom that you believe supports your body temperature, then take a warm shower before going to sleep. This warm shower will bring your body temperature to a level that will help you relax and fall asleep.
If it is warmer outside, a cold shower will provide a useful energy boost, especially after waking up or after exercising. This cold shower will lower your body temperature just enough to where you will enter a state of hypothermia for just a few seconds. This allows your body to tense up, resulting in a short spike of energy.
If it is cold outside, you should consider taking a hot shower, especially after waking up. When you wake up in a cold environment, it is very likely that your body temperature is not as high as it should be and while asleep, your body has been spending energy trying to keep itself warm. This is solved with a hot shower, which will bring your body temperature up to proper levels.