For many of us, having a great night’s sleep is a luxury we don’t often get. We all want to know how to sleep better, but could the key to success lie within your hot tub?
According to sleep.org, lying in warm water before bed can help you relax. When you get out of the water, the experience of a drop in body temperature can also help “promote feelings of sleepiness”.
World Sleep Day was invented to raise awareness on important issues related to sleep, and encourage us all to get a better night’s rest, improving our health and wellbeing.
So, with this annual awareness day just around the corner, we’ve done some digging to find out if warm water really can help you sleep.
Does warm water help you sleep?
It is not the water that induces the feeling of sleepiness, but rather the change in body temperature.
Soaking in hot tub water will raise your core body temperature. Once you exit your hot tub your body temperature will start to drop, this signals to your body that it is time to sleep.
Relaxing in warm water can help destress your body as it is said to offer similar feelings of comfort and closeness to that of being in the womb.
Soaking in your hot tub can help reduce blood pressure and the heat aids the movement of blood around the body, assisting with the relaxation of tight or sore muscles.
Research has also proven that there are benefits of soaking feet in hot water before sleep, as this improves blood circulation and can refresh the body. So, if you’re not feeling up to fully immersing yourself within your hot tub, simply spend some time soaking your feet and you’ll feel more relaxed and ready for some well-deserved sleep.
Why does a hot tub make you feel tired?
Spending long periods of time in a hot tub can cause dehydration, making you feel more tired.
Our body works against the heat of the hot tub water to try and maintain its core temperature, forcing the body to work harder to circulate blood. Also, when we’re in the tub, the heat can cause us to sweat and therefore lose body fluids, all causes of dehydration.
Make sure your hot tub water temperature never exceeds 40°C and always stay hydrated when using your tub.
Remember that caffeine and alcohol can also act as mild diuretics, causing further dehydration. If you are using the hot tub to promote better sleep, its worth remembering that they also act as stimulants, keeping you awake.
Top tips for using your hot tub to help promote sleep
Hot tubs are a great way to clear your mind and get yourself it a state of relaxation before bed.
Here are our top five tips on how you can use your hot tub to achieve a better night’s sleep.
1. Create a relaxing space
First and foremost, we recommend creating a relaxing environment around your hot tub.
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your body and helps control your sleep cycle. The production of melatonin in your brain is prompted by darkness, which is why you may feel sleepy when lighting is reduced. Bright light has the opposite effect as it can stop the production of melatonin, making you feel more alert and awake.
Consider using dimmed lighting, carefully placed outdoor candles or even just the use of your hot tubs LED lights to create a calming space, promoting relaxation and supporting the melatonin levels in your body.
After experiencing your hot tub haven, remember not to go around turning all the bright lights on in your home, otherwise you’ll undo all your hard work!
2. Enjoy the powerful water jets
Hydrotherapy is another amazing hot tub benefit, where water and air is used to aid aching muscles and body parts. The powerful circulation of water and air through the hot tub jets massages muscles, helping to reduce tension and support relaxation, preparing your body for a better night’s sleep.
When buying a hot tub, you should consider the number of jets it has and if they are adjustable as well as being able to turn them on and off as needed.
3. Send your senses wild with hot tub aromatherapy
There are many scents that are said to help relaxation and sleep, but which you choose will come down to personal preference.
The use of approved hot tub aromatherapy can aid relaxation and help you sleep better. Our favourite aromatherapy scents include:
- Lavender - relieves anxiety by sending signals from your nose to your brain acting as a calming agent helping relieve tension.
- Vanilla - a study published in 2005 suggests that the scent of vanilla initiated positive thoughts from participants including feelings of being happy and relaxed.
- Jasmine - when inhaled during sleep improves the quality of your slumber.
- Ylang-Ylang – reduces stress and anxiety and can help you fall asleep faster.
4. Gain the benefits of being outdoors
Researchers suggest that enjoying more time outdoors can help improve your sleep.
Time spent looking at peaceful and idyllic scenery can lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. It can also improve mood as it is noted that anxiety and negative moods can decrease after spending time outside.
Fresh air can also help increase the oxygen levels you breathe in, which in turn increases the amount of serotonin released in your body, making you feel happier.
Consider how your outdoor space looks and whether it complements your hot tub set up. Create a spa like experience in your own back garden, plant some calming lavender and create the ‘wow factor’ with outdoor decking. Make your space your own little getaway from the daily stresses of day to day life.
For more information on how to landscape your outdoor hot tub area, check out our blog post here.
5. Get your timings right
When enjoying your hot tub, your body will absorb the heat from the water. With this in mind, it is recommended that you take a soak one to two hours before bedtime for optimal results.
We recommend using your hot tub for no more that 20 minutes at a time.
Additional tips for a better sleep
There are many things to consider to improve your sleep, the World Sleep Society provides the following recommendations:
- Set a regular routine/time for going to bed and waking up
- Never nap for more than 45 minutes during the day
- Do not consume alcohol excessively four hours before bedtime and avoid smoking
- Avoid drinking caffeine drinks and foods such as chocolate six hours before bed
- Don’t eat spicy and sugary foods four hours before going to bed
- Whilst exercise is important it should be avoided right before bedtime
- Ensure your mattress and bedding is comfortable and fit for purpose
- Keep your bedroom well ventilated with a comfortable temperature
- Block out all noise and light as much as is possible
- Your bedroom should be used for sleep, avoid using it as an office or for recreation
So there we have it, there are many hot tub benefits you should consider and a better night’s sleep could be one of those, if you use your tub in the right way.