If you've been looking for an excuse to take a relaxing bath tonight, we've got a great one for you: New research shows that soaking in the tub before you go to bed can help you get better sleep. But the key is making sure you hop in at the right time.
The July 2019 study, published in Sleep Medicine Reviews, found that bathing about one to two hours before bedtime in water of about 104 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit can significantly improve your sleep. The sweet spot for timing your bath? About 90 minutes before you turn the lights out and drift off to dreamland.
To find the magic number, researchers analyzed thousands of studies linking water-based passive body heating — aka bathing with nice, toasty water — with better sleep quality. (Raise your hand if you'd want to be included in one of those studies after a stressful day!)
"When we looked through all known studies, we noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings," said lead author Shahab Haghayegh in a press release. "The only way to make an accurate determination of whether sleep can in fact be improved was to combine all the past data and look at it through a new lens."
Combing through the relevant research, scientists were able to pinpoint 90 minutes before bedtime as the "right biological time" to take a soothing soak. Since warm baths eventually cool down your core body temperature, taking them at this time actually helps your body's natural circadian rhythm and therefore increases your chances of having a good night's snooze.
And the temperature? That balmy range of 104 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit not only helps you experience better sleep quality but also quickens the speed of you falling asleep by an average of 10 minutes. So if you can aim for basking in the warmth about an hour and a half before bed, you can expect to not only fall asleep but actually enjoy your sleep, too.
You sure don't have to tell us twice!