Bathing raises body temperature slightly, and when you get out of the tub, the rapid cool down mimics the natural temperature drop the brain triggers as it prepares for sleep. An NCBI study found that a bath before sleep enhances the quality of sleep in young children. During the first three hours of sleep, body movements were less frequent.
A bath should be taken about 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime. However, be aware that not all kids are calmed by a bath before bedtime. Some children become more awake than sleepy. You know your child, so “test the waters” to see how baths affect them.
January is National Bath Safety Month. Now is the perfect time to review safety tips and to consider using beneficial bath additives to this calming and sleep-inducing activity.
Tips for Bathing Young Children
Children ages 4 and under should always have a caregiver present when they are near water, including the bath tub. Affix a slip-resistant plastic mat that suctions to the bottom of the tub and make sure there is a non-slip mat outside of the tub. A grab bar is great for kids, as well as adults, so remind them to use it and not the towel rack or door handle. Always fill the tub with water before placing your child in the water, checking to be sure it isn’t too hot or too cold. Make sure bath toys do not have hard edges or points that could be hazardous.
High-quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils are beneficial in the bath. To create a blissful bath ritual with calming and relaxing effects, add essential oils like lavender, roman chamomile, vetiver, peppermint, cedarwood, marjoram or onguard. For people:
Epsom salt improves relaxation and sleep when used in baths, according to the Epsom Salt Council. Stress can lead to reduced magnesium levels in the blood, resulting in the production of adrenalin, which makes you feel more alert. The magnesium in Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and binds with serotonin in the brain, facilitating relaxation. Epsom salt also has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation, flush out toxins, soften skin, and strengthen the immune system.
When adding Epsom salt to a warm bath, follow these guidelines. For people:
It’s also time to celebrate the Festival of Sleep Day – January 3rd. It was created by and for people who want to focus on getting extra sleep after the busy holiday season. While Festival of Sleep Day isn’t an “official” holiday, like National Bath Safety month, it reminds us of the importance of taking care of our bodies and our health.