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A hot bath before bed just feels good, yes? But you may be surprised to learn that there are real health benefits of regular warm or hot baths.
In our busy world, it may seem faster and easier to hop in the shower for a quick rinse. But the more I learn about the health benefits of warm and hot baths, the more I believe in the importance of taking just 10 minutes most nights of the week for this soothing ritual.
Here are 4 Top Health Benefits Of Hot Baths And Why I Prioritize Them Before Bed
1. Hot Baths May Help Improve Mood & Decrease Stress
Lying in a hot bath feels warm and comforting, like you’re being held. Floating in warm liquid reminds us of what it felt like in mother’s womb, so we naturally find them soothing. Baths are also the perfect place to find quiet alone time and stillness (it’s hard to find that anywhere else). In a quiet bath you can focus on your breathing, a good book or something else that’s meditative. Think of this 10 minute bath as quiet time to just tune in and focus on your own well-being.
2. Hot Baths Can Help With Muscle Pain & Soreness
Heat helps your blood to circulate, and better circulation allows more oxygen-rich blood to get to your muscles which helps with sore muscle recovery. Add Epsom salt to your bath to help even more. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate compound. Magnesium is a mineral that can be absorbed through your skin and is known to play a role in muscle and nerve function, as well as in decreasing inflammation. I use about a cup of Epsom salt in the bath.
3. Hot Baths May Help You Sleep Better
Ah, the elusive eight hour sleep. We’ve all heard we need to get the full eight, but it’s not always that easy. Warm baths have been used for years for people who suffer from insomnia or have trouble falling asleep. The theory behind it is that warm water relaxes the body, and also that core body temperature tends to drop after a warm bath. It’s also believed that a warm bath may signal to the pineal gland in the brain to produce melatonin, which is the hormone your body produces to help you sleep. I have found that the best time for a warm or hot bath is 1-2 hours before going to bed.
4. Hot Baths Can Help Soothe Your Skin
Warm baths have been found to help hyrate and soothe dry, irritated skin, especially when soothing oils are used in the bath. I have very dry skin and in the winter, I tend to develop dermatitis on areas of my body. I recently began using this nourishing milk bath in my baths at the advice of a massage therapist – I’ll keep you all posted on how I like it. I also love almond oil, jojoba oil and rosehip oil in and after the bath for dry skin.
Here is the bathtime ritual that I follow a few nights each week: An hour or two before bedtime, I’ll run a hot bath and add either oils (if my skin is feeling very dry) or Epsom salt (if my muscles feel sore and tired), or occasionally even both. I prepare a cup of Natural Calm magnesium supplement to sip on while I sit in the bath. I light candles and put my phone on do not disturb. I set a timer for 10-15 minutes and either read a book or just focus on my breath and how my body is feeling until the timer goes off. It’s my heavenly ritual.
Important: I am not a doctor or medical professional and the advice in this post is for informational purposes only. If you are pregnant or have a health condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease, consult a doctor before adding anything to your health routine. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water before and after a hot bath to restore fluids.