What temperature do you like to shower at?
Does it matter?
You probably shower at whatever temperature is most comfortable for you. But believe it or not, the temperature of your shower can affect your health.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that one temperature is better than the other. It just means that each temperature comes with its own set of benefits.
The right temperature for you may depend on your individual needs and preferences on that particular day.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of cold and hot showers.
Why You Should Take Warm Showers
Water conducts heat better than air. So when you step into a warm shower or bath, the heat from the water quickly transfers to your body and raises your body temperature.
The main effect is that it can open up your blood vessels and improve circulation. This can benefit you in several ways, including:
- Reducing muscle soreness
- Relieving joint pain
- Easing sinus congestion
- Relieving nausea
- Improved blood pressure and heart health
- Increased relaxation
- Improved sleep
Hot baths and showers may also benefit your brain and nervous system. Hot water immersion appears to stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that helps support nerve cells’ survival and plays an important role in learning and memory.
One of the only risks to be aware of is that excessively hot showers can damage your skin and hair. Aim for a warm, comfortable temperature that won’t scald you.
Why You Should Take Cold Showers
While warm temperatures can expand blood vessels, cold temperatures have the opposite effect. When you get cold, the blood vessels near the surface of your skin constrict.
This tends to cause increased blood circulation to your internal organs as your body tries to conserve heat and divert blood away from your extremities.
The benefits associated with cold showers include the following:
- Reduced inflammation and swelling
- Relieved muscle and joint pain
- Lowered cortisol levels (the stress hormone)
- Improved immune system
- Improved post-workout recovery
Cold showers may also help to improve your emotional state. While it might feel uncomfortable initially, it can also invigorate you, improve your alertness, and elevate your mood. It might even be a useful aid in the treatment of depression.
Again, it would be best to avoid extremely cold temperatures that could cause harm.
Which is Best For You?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding the best temperature for your shower.
Both hot and cold showers can provide health benefits, depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.
It might be best to experiment with different temperatures to see what feels best for you on any given day. Sometimes a cold shower can be an excellent way to wake yourself up in the morning or cool down after a strenuous workout.
Other times, you might need the relaxing and relieving effects of a warm shower or even a bath, especially later at night before bedtime.
Listen to your body and see what feels best.