A study has shown that bathing our little ones 90 minutes before we put them to bed will help them SLEEP!
I know, this could be the most helpful study ever.
The Biomedical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered there is a correlation between bath time, water temperature and improved sleep.
But us mums and dads already kinda knew that.
I mean, most of us have been bathing the kids about an hour and a half before bed anyway. And this has as much to do with our nightly routine as it does with just knowing that a nice soak in the tub and getting dressed into cosy PJs before bed is a soothing way to wind down from the day.
But back to the research.
It’s all about body heat
When the scientists assessed the data from over 5,000 studies linking how the body heats up in a bath or shower with how well we or our kids (or in turn both) sleep, they discovered that a warm bath one to two hours before bed is helpful to good sleep.
So if your kids have a bedtime of say, 7.30pm then you want to get them in the bath between 5.30pm – 6.30pm. Again, most of us do this anyway.
The results, published in the Sleep Medicine Reviews journal, also say water temperature of around 40-42.8 degrees is optimal.
As for why a warm bath an hour or two before bed helps us to sleep, it has to do with body temperature influencing the regulation of our sleep/wake cycles.
So a warm bath increases blood flow, which is known to aid the natural circadian process, which helps us all to fall asleep quicker and for longer.
A new lense
It’s not the first time scientists have investigated what helps us sleep. In fact, the researchers in this study had to draw upon the findings of 5,322 different studies to reach their conclusion.
“When we looked through all known studies, we noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings,” said Shahab Haghayegh, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and lead author on the paper. “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.”
So the moral of the story is, parents, keep doing what you’ve been doing and bath your little ones an hour or two before bed.