Why do I sleep better after a soak in the hot tub?
Many people struggle to wind down completely at the end of the day, in order to get a complete and restful night of sleep.
In fact, in his groundbreaking book, Undoing Perpetual Stress, Dr. Richard O’Connor makes a solid case that the human brain and nervous system just cannot process the constant stress that most Americans absorb every day. He laments that the health-care establishment hasn’t been able to adequately help patients with sleeping problems. And, our sleep problems are being compounded, too, by the light-emitting iPads, iphones and televisions we think we’re relaxing with at night and even in bed. As a result, 132 million Americans have trouble sleeping at least one night each week and the sleep aid industry earned $34 billion dollars in 2014 (a 50% increase from 2008’s $23 billion dollars.)
Fortunately, we have good news. If you’re considering getting a hot tub to help you relax and even sleep, the science stands behind you. A warm soak in the hot tub can improve circulation which can help sleep.
Warm water raises our body temperature, which in turn dilates the blood vessels, improving circulation. Oxygen rich blood flow to the organs and extremities helps every part of you feel better because cell growth proceeds more efficiently.
Improved circulation helps you sleep because it fuels “the relaxation response.” With cells and organs properly nourished with oxygen and nutrients and the heart beating in a steady, reliable way: Breathing rate slows, relaxing you naturally, the production of stress hormones decreases, and muscles relax.
All of these physiological changes can promote better sleep.
Sleep specialists push insomniacs to develop a night-time, wind-down routine involving darkness to work with our natural brain wiring. For decades, these hard working researchers have known and broadcast the fact that light affects the brain, sleep patterns and mood. Their (and the insomniac’s) biggest enemy now is artificial light, delivered after sundown. So to get your best sleep, put the device down and get into your hot tub. Turn the lights down or off. Listen to relaxing music. Take a friend or loved one with you for light, pleasant conversation. Alone time is a great strategy to wind down. Make this a nightly ritual, and sleep like a baby.
 Mackay, Maureen. “Sleepless in America.” www.thefiscaltimes.com