Sleep expert reveals why having a hot shower in the evening will help you get a quality night's rest

woman asleep in bed
Getting a good night's sleep can be tough at the best of times. Photo credit: Getty.

Dropping off to sleep can be hard for many of us at the best of times, then staying asleep and getting a good quality night's rest can be even harder. 

Kiwi sleep expert and co-owner of wearable tech Sleeploop Gareth O'Donnell joined Newshub's Fierce Fitness podcast to impart some of his knowledge on getting quality shut eye, telling host Nats Levi it's no longer about just getting eight hours. 

"Just because you close your eyes all night doesn't mean you've had a good night's rest," he said. 

"If I was to give a prescription for eight hours of sleep, that's like prescribing someone eat according to the 1993 food pyramid.

"Things have moved on." 

O'Donnell says our sleep is broken into different subcategories, including REM sleep and the lesser known 'delta sleep'. 

"Delta sleep is the deep, essential sleep, where the body goes into its major physiological recovery," he said.

"We need at least 25 percent of our sleep to be delta sleep." 

O'Donnell revealed the most important thing to help the body get into a delta sleep state is not about how dark your room is, or how much you've exercised that day. 

"It's the temperature," he said. "A hunter gatherer tribe in Africa was studied to see how much light and dark, what we do in the evening etc. impacts our sleep cycle.

"They found the most important thing in bringing the tribe into full rest was temperature."

O'Donnell says our bodies need to be 36 degrees celsius to get into delta waves - trickier in summer compared to winter. 

"You tend to see people hibernate a bit more and get a bit more recovery during the winter period, and get less delta sleep in summer when hot and sweaty," he explained. 

"Selecting your bedding and the temperature you can maintain in the evening becomes way more important." 

So we should surely have a cool shower before bed right? Wrong.

"You have a cold shower, what are you doing? You're shivering, as your body tries to warm up," he said. 

"[You need a] hot shower: then your blood vessels will dilate, your pores will open and your body is going to rapidly try and cool itself. 

"Hot shower for the evening, cold for the morning."

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