While a warm shower at night can regulate your circadian rhythm, a cold shower has plenty of its own benefits, ranging from improving your mental health to helping you shed some pounds. Is it enough for you brave the frigid temps first thing in the morning?
- Reduces stress. Who knew that a bit of temperature therapy could help with stress and anxiety? Apparently, cold water can condition your body to respond better to stress. Do you get stressed out before heading to the office? Definitely try taking a cold shower.
- Increases alertness. Speaking of getting ready for the office, a chilly rinse before starting your day can improve your alertness. Just like a warm shower is soothing and can help you fall asleep, a cold shower can do just the opposite. Nothing really wakes you up quite like gallons of frigid water dumping onto your naked body.
- Improves circulation. By switching your hot water to cold in the shower, you can increase your blood circulation, sending it from your skin to your organs.
- Is better for your hair and skin. Cold water is actually better for your skin and for your hair. Hot water can actually dry out your skin, ironically enough. And the chillier temperatures will seal your pores, preventing them from getting clogged by oil and dirt. Similarly, it closes the hair cuticle (if you've ever wondered why your hair stylist rinses your hair in cold water, this is why!). It helps your hair stay smooth, shiny, and healthy.
- Can stimulate weight loss. For one, when your body is cold, it burns more calories trying to stay warm and maintain homeostasis. But did you know that cold water and cold temperatures can stimulate and increase the metabolic rate of brown fat? Brown fat — the "good" fat in your body — burns calories to keep your body warm.
- Boosts the immune system. By increasing circulation and stimulating the metabolism, the sped-up metabolic rate can improve the immune system thanks to an increase in white cell count (they fight the bad cells).
- Aids in quicker muscle recovery (less soreness). Have you ever taken an ice bath for muscular recovery? A cold shower is like the training-wheels version of that.
- May reduce depression. Seriously, a cold shower might be what you need to improve your mood! A 2008 study — albeit a small study — noticed an "anti-depressive effect" thanks to cold water sending an "overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain."