Plunging into freezing water just before sleeping sounds very intimidating, especially if the weather is chilly. However, we want to show you how you can use an ice bath for sleep if falling asleep is more challenging for you.
We’ll also show how you can safely use cryotherapy so you won’t hurt yourself whilst trying to heal yourself.
CAN AN ICE BATH IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Lying awake in bed thinking about that awkward moment in high school or worrying about anything when you should be snoozing can cause sleep deprivation. That is where an ice bath before sleep may benefit.
It’s important to note here that everyone is highly individualised and what might work wonders for some, might do the opposite for others. If you find that an ice bath wakes you up, try it first thing in the morning to help reset your circadian rhythm. If you struggle to sleep, try a sauna or a hot shower before bed, the increase in core body temperature followed by a plummet in core body temperature can assist in getting more sleep.
An ice bath’s cold water can help reduce those racing thoughts that bother you when you want to get a good night’s sleep. In addition, cold water has relaxing benefits, including improved blood flow, as doctors have seen in cold shower subjects.
Taking a cold shower triggers your system to circulate fresh blood as the cold water lowers your body’s temperature. That, in turn, enables your body to bring down its blood pressure levels that have been ramped up by stress.
Other cold shower tests have shown that the cold can increase your endorphins, which are the chemicals that make you feel good and at ease. That is why cold shower released endorphins are known for relieving stress and depression symptoms may help you fall asleep.
Doctors suggest that having a cold shower can suppress your body’s ability to produce cortisol which is a chemical that can trigger stress in our brains.
A cold shower can get used to distract your mind from things you’re afraid of and things that worry you to help you go to bed quicker.
HOW TO TAKE AN ICE BATH TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY?
We’ve seen how a cold shower can result in a shorter sleep onset latency because of cold water immersion. Now, let’s see how you can take an ice bath. First, your tub needs to be filled halfway up with cold water. The ice and your body will add volume to it.
Avoid adding any warm water as it’ll melt the ice effortlessly, and pour at least four x 5kg ice bags from the store or make your own 20kg ice. Ensure you don’t wait around too long waiting for the ice to melt.
Use a thermometer and pour in the ice until the bath is 10 to 15 °C.
To avoid this hassle, you can go to our facility for an ice bath, contrast therapy or cryotherapy session to improve sleep, lower cortisol levels and leave your body feeling good in a safe space.
Since cold environments constrict your blood vessels, you need to contact your doctor first if you have a heart condition and want to try an ice bath.
To avoid getting skin conditions, you need to shower first before an ice bath to eliminate any bacteria you might have on your body. Wearing board shorts and water shoes can also prevent sensitive skin from getting damaged by cold temperatures.
ICE BATH FOR SLEEP: WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
Whilst there aren’t many studies that focus on how an ice bath can affect sleep, there are many that probe into factors involved in sleep. For example, one of the factors that can decide if you’ll fall asleep faster is your immune system. So getting sick easier will make it hard for you to go to bed at night.
A 2014 study by Dutch researchers found that people can use the cold in icy baths alongside deep breathing techniques and meditation to improve their immune systems.
In the study, those who underwent the cold therapy didn’t have as many adverse symptoms as those who didn’t partake when they got bacterial infections.
Being in cold baths is good for improving your mental well-being too. A study by Nikolai Shevchuk used this method to reduce depression-related symptoms.
To get into a nice deep sleep, your core body temperature needs to drop by 1 degree. This is why you will always sleep better when in cold bedroom and not a hot summers day. Many people respond differently to the cold, some may heat up after (thus morning ice bath is right for you) or some may feel relaxed and tired and ready for bed.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU ICE BATH FOR SLEEP?
You mustn’t sit in cooled water for longer than 15 minutes. That is the perfect duration range to unlock cryotherapy benefits like an earlier bedtime.
Soldiering the water further than that can get you sick with hypothermia, which will make your limbs become numb or stiff.
ARE ICE BATHS BETTER AT NIGHT OR MORNING?
It’s important to note here that everyone is highly individualised and what might work wonders for some, might do the opposite for others. If you find that an ice bath wakes you up, try it first thing in the morning to help reset your circadian rhythm. If you struggle to sleep, try a sauna or a hot shower before bed, the increase in core body temperature followed by a plummet in core body temperature can assist in getting better sleep.
CAN YOU ICE BATH EVERY DAY?
Doing an icy plunge every day is known to boost testosterone. That can help with improving your mood and thus make it easier to stick with an earlier bedtime.
Should you develop an irregular heartbeat after using cryotherapy for days, stop and consult your doctor or ask if starting with this treatment is safe first.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TAKE AN ICE BATH?
Ideally, an ice bath can be done everyday. It does get easier the more you do it and it becomes something you look forward to. It would be best to experiment to what suits you best, either in the morning before work to invigorate you for the day, or after a long day to help you switch off and relax.
Deciding on whether you want to use an ice bath should be made with the help of a doctor and to keep these benefits in mind to allow for optimum results. We also recommend that you use an ice bath for shorter periods if you’re still new to cryotherapy for optimum results.
Regularly acclimating slowly to the chilly temperatures will save you from adverse effects and provide you with your deserved benefits.