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The hot tub is one of the most popular remedies available to help solve sleep disorders because it is both powerful and natural – without the detrimental side effects caused by many other sleep aids that people often turn to.
Poor Sleep is a Widespread Problem
If you consider the staggering seriousness and scope of public health consequences from sleeplessness, it can keep you up at night. The numbers are huge:
- The National Sleep Foundation reports that 132 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders more than one night a week
- According to polls from SleepAssociation.org, approximately 40% of all adults report sleep duration that is too short
- 37.9% revealed they unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, while 1 of every 25 adults surveyed reported falling asleep while driving
Poor Sleep Can Be Damaging
Sleep deprivation impacts your body and mind in every way imaginable. Studies from leading clinics and institutes point out where that harm can be found within each of us:
- Chronic fatigue/lack of energy
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Increased hunger and obesity
- Cognitive impairment or brain fog
- Mental problems including erratic mood swings, irritability, depression, nervous anxiety, psychiatric disorders, and dementia
Other Sleep Aids Can Carry More Problems than Solutions
Sleep aid sales have grown to more than $34 billion dollars a year. But often, those common choices don’t really solve the problem – and they carry unwanted side effects.
Sure, alcohol or sleeping pills can force you into unconsciousness. But they only push you into the first stage of sleep, which is the least restful. Furthermore, these aids can actually inhibit your progress into the next three deeper stages of sleep where the actual restorative work takes place. To complicate matters, sleeping pills, and even herbal remedies can often carry a groggy “hangover” sedative effect into the next day.
How a Hot Tub Can Naturally Help You Sleep
Hot tub use for improved sleep has been thoroughly studied by medical science. In clinical studies at Washington State University, participants’ vitals were monitored as they soaked in hot tubs set to optimal conditions of 102-degree water for 24 minutes. A warm spa was proven to affect many body systems to bring about easier, deeper, and longer sleep. Those sleep-inducing factors included:
Reduction of Pain and Stress on Muscles and Joints
Pain is a common cause of insomnia. A hot tub session can reduce that problem by dilating blood vessels and increasing circulation, which allows repair agents to reach the scene of the injury. In addition, water buoyancy reduces the load that gravity places on joints and muscles, allowing them to relax and loosen. Water jet massaging action further alleviates tightness.
Reduction of ANTI-Sleep Hormones
Under stress, the body remains stuck on high alert, releasing “fight or flight” neurotransmitters such as epinephrine/adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline. Each of these increase wakefulness and are damaging if held at high levels on an ongoing basis. Hot tub sessions reduce those negative hormones.
Increases of PRO-Sleep Hormones
A warm water massage helps your body release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins – mood-elevating chemicals that suppress pain and make you feel contentment. That “happy-hormone” cocktail can be a natural, harmless, yet effective sedative that helps you surrender to sleep.
Lengthening the Sedating Pre-Sleep Cooling Cycle
A hot tub session sets up a dramatically larger and longer drop in core body temperature. In everyday life, the process of falling asleep is always naturally accompanied by a body temperature drop of just a few degrees. However, a hot tub enhances the height and length of that temperature slide by first increasing your body heat. If you leave your hot tub 90 minutes before bedtime, your cool-down period will stretch to a much steeper and longer slope, amplifying the signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep.
Deeper Sleep States – Recorded by Brainwaves
Science proves how powerfully a hot tub can work to help you reach a much deeper sleep state. After their 20-minute hot tub sessions in the Washington State University study, participants were wired for EEG monitoring before bedtime. Due to hot tub use, participants fell asleep faster and dropped more quickly down through the two lighter sleep stages into the deeply restorative Stage 3 Delta Slow-Wave Sleep, before progressing further to Stage 4 REM Sleep.
Remember – It is Not Safe to Fall Asleep in the Hot Tub
Relaxing in a hot tub can sometimes be too sedating. Hot tub use can involve health risks that you can take steps to avoid:
Limit the Water Temperature
Excessively heating your core body temperature can lead to the health and life risks of hyperthermia. The absolute maximum safety limit for hot tub water is 104°F. Always check the water temperature with a thermometer before stepping in. Simply using a dip of your toe to “test” your hot tub isn’t enough.
Limit Your Time Spent in the Water
Medical professionals recommend a time limit of no more than 20 minutes.
Hot tubs make you sweat and can leave you dehydrated. In addition, drinking alcohol can further contribute to dehydration. Regardless of whatever else you may choose to imbibe, be sure to also include water or water-based beverages.
Other Helpful Bedtime Tips for Better Sleep
20-minute hot tub sessions can set you on a path toward falling into a deep restorative sleep 90 minutes later. But be sure to avoid behaviors that can sabotage their sleep-inducing effects.
- Set a regular, absolute bedtime
- Create a wind-down routine and stick to it
- Avoid taking in alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine
- Don’t exercise right before bedtime
- Dim all lights to trigger the production of melatonin in your brain
- Turn off all technology
- Move all daytime activities out of the bedroom
- Turn down the temperature in your room
- Block out nighttime noise distractions with ambient music or white noise sound effects
Come Get Your Sleep Solution
Would you like some advice from a hot tub expert? Call the specialists at Custom Backyard Spaces at 919-444-8500 or contact us for your free, no-obligation consultation where we can answer all of your questions about hot tubs and discuss options for hot tub placement that will complement your home and your lifestyle.
At Custom Backyard Spaces, we have grown a large family of happy hot tub customers throughout the greater Raleigh metro area. Let us help you rest easy!