Freeze Tub

free standard shipping on all orders over $220

freezetub logo


Cold Water Therapy And Sleep

cold water therapy for sleep

Generally, people enjoy nice, long hot showers before turning in. Also, the idea of cold plunging before bed and shocking your body like that is not a pleasant one.

Yet, cold water therapy has impressive health benefits but how can it help improve sleep and build a better and effective night routine? Let’s discuss.

Can Cold Water Help You Sleep?

With the hustle culture, and increased competition everywhere, you may feel like your brain is often going into overdrive. Task lists are never-ending and there is always a new problem to solve. As a result, sleep often takes a backseat as you juggle work, family, social commitments, and surviving life, in general.

Welcome – The Insomnia Epidemic.

According to scientific sleep research, insomnia affects around 30% of adults worldwide, making it a widespread concern that demands attention. Common remedies such as medications or counting sheep might not always do the trick, leaving many people looking for new and mostly healthier alternatives for improving sleep that have been proven to work, but also do not involve synthetic chemicals.

If I look at my own experience with cold water therapy and sleep. I could say I have been a late bloomer to the party.

I have always been a light sleeper, often waking up if even an early morning butterfly floats past the bedroom window. and whenever we go away on a trip, my wife chooses the ocean, and this poses a problem.

We have to find an Airbnb close to the water and have the window open when we go to sleep…me, I can’t stand it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the ocean. However, I can’t stand the repetitive crashing of the waves at night. I eventually fall asleep but as soon as the slow-wave (Stage 4) sleep cycle completes, this is the deepest of sleep you get into overnight, the waves wake me up.

I was surfing the internet one night and randomly came across an article discussing the Science behind Cold Water Therapy I initially shrugged it off, not thinking a lot about it but it wasn’t me that brought it to my attention, it was my wife.

She said ‘You haven’t said to me you’ve had a bad night’s sleep for a while, have you been sleeping ok?’ I thought to myself, ‘Well, actually, you’re right I have been sleeping alright.

After a few more weeks, I eventually figured out it was the cold water therapy that had been helping me get some good shut-eye!

I had invested in a portable ice bath for plunging in after sports as I liked how fast I could recover from sore muscles. But I could never have anticipated that it would help me sleep.

Cold Water Therapy Basics

Cold water therapy is an unconventional yet intriguing approach to tackling insomnia. This practice involves exposing the body to cold temperatures through methods like ice baths or cold showers. While it may sound like a shock to the system, experts swear by its ability to induce relaxation and promote better sleep.

The Science Behind It All

So, how exactly does taking a plunge in icy water add up to better sleeping patterns? The answer lies within the physiological response of the body to cold exposure.

There is quite a science behind cold water therapy and sleep, so read on.

When in contact with cold temperatures, the blood vessels inside the body start contracting and moving blood from the limbs into vital body organs. This process is vasoconstriction, whereby the foreground is the release of endorphins and melatonin. These are hormones that make one feel good and are attributed to relaxation and induction of healthy sleep.

Sounds good so far right?!

The timing of this cryotherapy is essential: plunging into freezing water in the morning could help in the regulation of your natural circadian rhythm; this method helps in kicking your nervous system and balancing your rhythm, thus making you fall asleep early and fast.

Alternatively, cooling the body before going to bed just may make that transition easier. Cooling the body thus signals the mind to wind down with a decrease in core body temperature, therefore providing a smoother onset of sleep. In addition, cold water therapy will reduce inflammation and muscle soreness, and thus it will contribute to comfortable and restful sleeping.

At the end of the day, you need to decide which time suits your needs better. Each body’s reaction is different and you must pay attention to cues to better adapt to cold water therapy.

Not quite ready to take the plunge into an ice bath? That’s fine! Cold showers offer a milder alternative that still packs a punch in terms of sleep benefits. By starting or ending your day with a brisk cold shower, you can kickstart your circulation, boost alertness, and set the stage for a restful night ahead.

Different Methods to Adapt for Better Sleep

While cold water therapy shows promise in improving sleep, it’s not the only thing that you should be doing. Adopting a holistic approach to sleep hygiene can yield even greater benefits. From limiting screen time before bed to incorporating relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, there are plenty of habits and practices to explore on the journey to better sleep.

Less Screen Time

You wake up to a screen, you probably work all day on a screen and you wind down with a screen. Does that sound like you? If yes, then things need to change if you want to improve your sleeping patterns.

The average person spends between 6 and 7 hours a day looking at screens and this impacts the way we interact with others and of course, how we speep.

average screen time

Just check out your average daily screen times to see if you fall into the average.

Our constant exposure to screens – be it smartphones, tablets, or laptops – can wreak havoc on our sleep patterns. The blue light emitted by these devices interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles.

It is recommended that you curb the urge to check your phone at least for an hour when you wake up. Similarly, you need to ditch the screentime for one hour before sleeping.

Try to pick up healthier habits of listening to music, reading, or dedicating time to a hobby…like plunging in cold ice baths!

Sweat It Out for Deeper Sleep

Regular physical activity not only benefits your physical health but also plays a significant role in improving sleep quality. Being active or incorporating moderate exercise during the day can help reduce stress, anxiety, and restless energy, making it easier to unwind and fall asleep at night.

Just remember to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as it may have the opposite effect and leave you feeling too energized to sleep with the adrenaline pumping.

Eat Right, Sleep Tight

The food we consume can also influence our sleep patterns.

Avoiding heavy meals, fast food, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime can help prevent disruptions to your sleep cycle. Instead, opt for light, easily digestible snacks. Also, try to have your dinner before 2-4 hours before your bedtime. It provides ample time for your body to process and digest.

Incorporating sleep-friendly foods rich in tryptophan, such as turkey, bananas, and nuts, can also promote relaxation and aid in the production of sleep-inducing neurotransmitters.

Power of Mindfulness

In our chaotic life, practising mindfulness can be a game-changer for sleep quality. With deep breathing exercises before bed, you learn how to slow down your mind, sort out thoughts, and overall quieten the chatter that buzzes around preventing you from a restful sleep.

Meditating helps you stay rooted in the present and helps develop a sense of calm that works wonders for your mental health and gives a better sleep experience.

So to re-cap, in today’s fast-paced world, where endless tasks and constant challenges can leave your mind racing, prioritising quality sleep is essential. With insomnia affecting 30% of adults globally, it’s crucial to explore effective alternatives beyond traditional remedies. Embrace the proven effectiveness of cold water therapy to promote deep, rejuvenating sleep and reclaim your vitality.

Whether you are brave enough to take the plunge into an ice bath or prefer the gentler approach of a cold shower, incorporating these practices into your routine may just be the ticket to improving sleep. Remember, achieving better sleep is not just about embracing the chill but also adopting holistic habits and practices that nurture your mind, body, and soul. Sweet dreams!


  • Dale Folland

    Dale is a seasoned Nutritionist with over two decades of experience in the health and wellness industry. His expertise has been sought after by elite groups such as NZ SAS Soldiers and NZ Fire Service, where he has contributed to optimising their performance and well-being. Dale is also a renowned speaker and educator and his work has been recognised in publications like the Daily Mail and various US media outlets.

    View all posts

Table of Contents