UT News, Austin, Texas — Biomedical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin may have found a way for people to get better shuteye.
Systematic review protocols — a method used to search for and analyze relevant data — allowed researchers to analyze thousands of studies linking water-based passive body heating, or bathing and showering with warm/hot water, with improved sleep quality.
Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering found that bathing 1-2 hours before bedtime in water of about 104-109 degrees Fahrenheit can significantly improve your sleep.
“When we looked through all known studies, we noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings,” said Shahab Haghayegh, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and lead author on the paper. “The only way to make an accurate determination of whether sleep can in fact be improved was to combine all the past data and look at it through a new lens.”
The paper explaining their method was recently published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews.
In collaboration with the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Southern California, the UT researchers reviewed 5,322 studies.
They extracted pertinent information from publications meeting predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria to explore the effects of water-based passive body heating on a number of sleep-related conditions: sleep onset latency — the length of time it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep; total sleep time; sleep efficiency — the amount of time spent asleep relative to the total amount of time spent in bed intended for sleep; and subjective sleep quality.
Meta-analytical tools were then used to assess the consistency between relevant studies and showed that an optimum temperature of between 104 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit improved overall sleep quality.
When scheduled 1-2 hours before bedtime, it can also hasten the speed of falling asleep by an average of 10 minutes. Read more.
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