What Are The Advantages Of A Cold Shower?
“Steam or a warm bath opens pores and makes it easier to clean dirt and build up toxins, leading to reduced blemishes and brighter skin,” says Dr. Green. Finally, he notes that warm water also promotes circulation in the exposed area, which can speed up healing. That said, bathing in cold water may provide non-sleep-related benefits.
According to a 1993 study by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, people who took cold showers daily saw an increase in the number of virus-fighting white blood cells compared to people who took hot showers. Researchers believe that the increased metabolism, which results from the body’s attempt to warm up, activates the immune system and releases more white blood cells in response. Every time I’m done with a cold water shower, I leave feeling refreshed and energized. Your heart starts pumping, and the blood flow through your body helps shake off the lethargy of the night’s sleep the night before. It’s almost like drinking a can of Diet Mountain Dew, minus the aspartame.
Participants in the study also experienced an increased heart rate. A similar study of youth soccer players found that immersion in cold water after an evening workout did not affect sleep. Studies show that people who take hot showers, especially at night or before bed, tend to fall asleep faster than those who take cold showers or don’t shower at all. In general, it is recommended that people who are stressed or experience sleep disorders take hot showers to regulate their sleep/wake cycle. Hot showers tend to make you feel more sleepy and can give that cozy feeling like you’re already tucked away in bed. Taking a cold shower can have some health benefits, such as relieving itchy skin.
And although it hasn’t been studied, many people swear that cold showers are a safe stress reliever. Another study found that soaking in cold water after nighttime exercise initially raises hot and cold showers benefits the body’s core temperature and then leads to a lower core body temperature four to five hours later. However, this drop in body temperature does not seem to affect the quality of sleep.
Athletes sometimes use cold water in an effort to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Anecdotally, people claim that cold showers boost mood and optimize blood flow for healthier skin and hair, although not all of these benefits have been scientifically proven. Of course, the benefits of cold showers extend beyond energy and mood. According to New York-based cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green, MD, cold showers can also improve skin health and appearance. “When cold water hits the skin, the body increases blood flow to maintain core temperature to protect vital organs, while restricting circulation near the skin,” he explains. In addition, Dr. Green says cold water has the ability to relieve itching, reduce inflammation and tighten pores, all of which leads to a brighter, brighter, younger-looking complexion.