By Tran Duy Minh
I usually travel a lot, and wherever I go, one of the things I enjoy most in my lodgings is the bathroom. This is because I am a big fan of taking a shower. In the morning, I usually kick off my day by taking a cold one as it helps to renew and freshen me up for the day. In the evening, I regularly take a hot one as it relaxes my body and mind.
When I come out of the bathroom, I can really notice the difference. I have almost a feeling of being reborn, energised, and inspired. My time spent bathing helps me to escape from a chaotic day while making me feel clean and refreshed.
It seems I am not the only one to enjoy this feeling, as these showering facts show.
The Mental Health Benefits
Obviously, you shower to clean your body. But have you noticed how it can also help to boost your mood and energise you?
After a deep sleep, a cold shower can increase your alertness and help you to stay awake. This is because Melatonin, the sleep hormone, drops as a reaction from the cold, which can lead to the body feeling awake.Other hormones, such as norepinephrine and serotonin, are also increased by the effect of feeling clean, helping you to feel happy and energised.
Showering in the morning before starting a new day can make you feel more confident and help to improve your productivity level. When surveyed, two-thirds of women thought that a morning bathing ritual made them feel more relaxed. Half of the respondents felt more attractive after a shower.
In the same way that a cold or warm shower is good for waking up in the morning or after a busy day, enjoying the hot jets of water can help you unwind and is a great idea before going to sleep at night. The American National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests that it can help improve sleep quality. Your body reacts to the hot water by relaxing your muscles and thoughts, priming you to sleep well.
Enhances Your Physical Health
Taking a bath or shower is not only good for your mind but also for your physical health.
Research has shown that cold showers can improve your immune system, cardiovascular circulation and vitality, helping to reduce sickness and make you healthier. According to the study, those taking a cold shower were 29% less likely to miss work because they were sick.
Taking a shower or bath can also protect you from the risk of some health problems. One study into its effects showed that warm water immersion helps to reduce arterial stiffness, which leads to high blood pressure.
In addition, when your body is exposed to warm water, it stimulates your thermoregulatory system making your blood vessels widen, and this helps to enhance blood flow. This means that using higher water temperature is specifically good for people with chronic heart problems.
To ease your muscles and weary bones after heavy physical work or injury, contrast bath or water therapy may help. This treatment can improve your speed of recovery and decrease your feelings of fatigue. While best undertaken with the help of a physiotherapist, you can do a version of this at home. Start by taking a hot shower for about 4 minutes, then bring the temperature down and make it as cold as you can stand for one minute. Repeat this cycle two more times to really ease those muscles.
Exposure to cold water also helps your body’s metabolism because it must work harder to maintain your stable temperature, giving it a good work-out
Besides that, cold water immersion is helpful in pain relief. It makes the blood vessels on the skin’s surface narrower, and it helps to lessen swelling and oedema that causes pain. Low temperature suppresses the speed of signals transmitted from the nerve to the brain, reducing pain awareness. This is why many athletes take ice baths after training or performing.
But Be Careful!
While taking a shower is beneficial for your health, you shouldn’t shower in extremely hot or freezing cold water.
Very hot water puts you in danger of being burned and getting heatstroke. While the other extreme may lower your body temperature under 32.2 degrees Celsius, causing heartbeat irregularities and a decreased breathing rate.
It’s also advised that those taking a prescription for depression shouldn’t use the shower as an alternative to medication.
With COVID-19 depriving us of many of our favourite things (like travel!), we can still enjoy the shower. So why not hit the bathroom now to escape the pandemic stress and come out more relaxed and able to face the world. Happy showering!