Hot Shower vs. Cold Shower Which One is Better for You?

The human body is governed by circadian rhythms, which tell us when to sleep, wake, eat, and so on; it’s a kind of internal clock that works in 24-hour or longer periods.

Some animals, like bears, rely on their circadian rhythms to dictate when to hibernate and awaken.

Modern bathroom and shower
(photo: pixabay)

When it comes to hot shower vs. cold shower, both can provide benefits at the start and end of your day. A hot shower can help you feel refreshed in the morning, while a cold shower can help you wind down before bed and prepare your body for sleep.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of hot shower vs. cold shower and help you decide which option is best for your needs.

Hot Shower vs. Cold Shower: Benefits and Risks

When Should I Take a Hot Shower?

If you’re worried about water usage, you may choose to shower once a day at a time that suits you best, whether it’s in the morning or at night. When it comes to hot shower vs. cold shower, a warm shower can help remove dirt and dead skin cells by washing away excess grease and oils. Scrubbing your body under a warm spray can leave your skin feeling refreshed and your pores clear, resulting in healthy-looking skin with a natural glow.

However, it’s crucial to avoid showering with water that is too hot, as it can harm your skin. Skin specialists recommend keeping the water temperature between 98°F (37°C) and 101°F (38.3°C), with a maximum of 105°F (41°C). If the water is too hot, it can damage your skin.

As we prepare for bed, our bodies naturally reduce our core temperature by a few degrees to create optimal sleep conditions. Showering in water that is too hot can increase your core temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep. Therefore, it’s best to allow your body to cool down before sleeping by opting for a lukewarm shower instead of a hot shower.

Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks knew something about cold water immersion after a hot bath or sauna and did it repeatedly during a single session. Later, Scandinavians popularized sauna culture with high heat followed by cold water plunges, cold showers, and even rolling naked in fresh snow.


Because of the benefits to your body and skin.

So Why on Earth Take a Cold Shower?

After a hard workout at the gym, spend around 20 minutes in a cooling-down routine to bring your breathing and body temperature back to normal, then go for it and jump into a cold shower.

Although it may sound unpleasant and shocking to your system, the benefits of a cold shower vs. hot shower are remarkable. Your skin and hair will appear glowing, and any muscle or joint discomfort resulting from a hard workout will be alleviated.

Stepping under a cold shower will raise your pulse level and boost your blood circulation. It also releases adrenaline and anti-stress hormones into your body, which makes you feel refreshed and renewed. After your cold shower, you will have a healthy radiance.

The same benefits are there if you take a cold shower first thing in the morning when you rise. It will wake you up, wash away sleep for sure, and will refresh and invigorate you ready for the day ahead.

Your immune system receives an instant boost from a cold shower. Your body’s intuitive reaction to being hit by cold water is to try warming up, which it does by ramping up your metabolism and bringing your immune system into play. Your blood count will rise sharply, which will help protect you from viruses and bacterial infections.

A cold shower also promotes healthier hair. It moisturizes and protects cuticles, preventing hair breakage and leaving it shinier. So next time you consider taking a hot shower vs. cold shower, opt for the latter to reap the many health benefits it offers.

Cold Shower Before Bed?

This will invigorate you and make you more alert, which is not ideal for sleeping straight away, so if you do take a cold shower in the evening, it would be best to do it a couple of hours before sleeping and use the time in between to complete some work or reading to relax.

Fertility Boost

Men should never expose their testes to very hot water as it can cause a reduction in fertility. Experiments done in the 1950s found that men who took a hot bath for half an hour every other day over a three-week period were infertile for several months afterward. The UCSF recently carried out an experiment with similar results. After stopping the hot water treatments, the participant’s sperm count rose dramatically.

Showers may not have as powerful an outcome, but there’s no point in risking your fertility.

The Downside of Cold Showers

It is an acquired habit, and if you suffer from health issues or cardiac or heart-related problems. If you are pregnant or anyone who has issues with blood pressure, cold showers are best avoided. Sharp changes in body temperature could cause serious issues for you.

If you are healthy, there is nothing to stop you from beginning with a normal shower temperature and slowly reducing it, doing it step by step until it’s as cold as you can stand. The main benefits come from refreshingly cold water, which boosts your blood flow and invigorates you.

The sudden contact with cold water in a shower will cause you to take a sharp breath which increases your heart level to increase along with your blood pressure which can put stress on your heart. Avoid this by starting with a warm water shower and gradually reducing the temperature.

Avoid cold showers if you are already cold, as they will lengthen the time it takes to get warm again. If you are unwell, very cold water straight off may not be good for your system, so use warm temperatures, to begin with, then ease slowly into cooler water as you feel you can take it without harm.

Highlights of Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros of Hot Showers

  • Refreshes you in the morning
  • Settles you for bed
  • Cleanses skin and boosts hair
  • Relaxes you ready for sleep

Cons of Hot Showers

  • Don’t use too high a temperature maximum of 105 F
  • Raises core temp bad for sleeping; cool down before sleep
  • Can damage skin

Pros of Cold Showers

  • Invigorating
  • Refreshing
  • Cleansing
  • Benefits hair and skin
  • Reduces joint and muscle pain
  • Increase blood circulation
  • Reduces stress
  • Releases hormones and adrenaline
  • Ramps up metabolism
  • Fires up the immune system
  • Increases/preserves men’s fertility
  • Burns body fat

Cons of Cold Showers

  • If your health is compromised, it is NOT safe to do
  • Can exacerbate existing heart conditions
  • Heart stressor
  • Takes getting used to
  • Avoid if already cold or ill

Alternating Between Hot & Cold Shower

  • Tones nervous system
  • Anti-stress effect
  • Stimulates circulatory system
  • Reduces sick days
  • Improves mental health

Best Way to Try It

If you want to try a cold shower but can’t face the shock of doing it straight off, try a hot/cold switch. Start with a comfortable, warm water shower, then gradually reduce the temperature to as cold as you can stand it. Do it for a fixed period like 45, 60, or 90 seconds then revert to warm water. It’s easier to cope with until you are used to it, and it has its own benefits.

Hot to Cold Switch

We all benefit from quality blood circulation for good cardiovascular health, so switching between hot and cold water while showering boosts your blood circulation, which is beneficial in so many ways. The cold water moves your blood to your vital organs to maintain heat, and warm water moves the blood to your skin’s surface. By invigorating your system this way, you improve your health, boost your circulation, and it gives you healthier skin.

The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work

In this randomized controlled trial (RCT), participants who regularly showered starting hot and then reducing the temperature down to cold for between 45 and 90 seconds reduced self-stated work absence due to illness by 30%. They also reported a boost in their quality of life due to the regime.

Most also reported increased energy levels, similar to consuming caffeine. 64% of those taking part continued the practice following the trial.

What to Avoid When Taking a Shower

Don’t shower in water that’s too hot (above 105 F) as it can damage your skin or scald you, so always test carefully before getting under the spray. Most countries require thermostatically controlled shower valves that prevent scalding; however, if you travel overseas, not every country has the same strict rules, especially in foreign hotels where you could start your shower at a comfortable temperature and suddenly be doused in freezing or scalding water. Check it out carefully and particularly if you have children.

Don’t shower too soon after a workout, let your body come to a natural resting heart rate and normal core temperature by doing a cool down after a serious workout. Then jump into a cold shower which will invigorate your skin and refresh you from your exercise. You may even lose some weight as the body reacts to cold water by creating brown fat cells, which are designed to create warmth, and in doing so, they burn calories. These are found around the neck and shoulders, so they are ideal for showering. Neat Huh?


Most of us shower at least once a day and many more often, which can help you have a better quality of sleep. So if you are having problems sleeping, perhaps you should consider showering before bed and assessing if it helps to give you a better rest. It’s an easy solution to try, and if it works, it’s a win, win.

You can boost your quality of life by showering, starting with a warm shower and then reducing the temperature to cold for a period of up to 90 seconds, provided you have no medical issues.

This practice has numerous benefits, including increased alertness, improved blood circulation, and reduced muscle soreness after exercise.

So next time you’re debating hot shower vs. cold shower, consider the advantages of incorporating both temperatures into your routine. You may discover that a simple change to your showering habits can significantly improve your quality of life.

Similar Posts