The Unexpected Way A Shower Can Keep You Cool At Night When The Weather Is Blistering

Depending on where in the country you live, summertime temperatures may be relatively mild. Think Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco, for example. While summer may be a delightfully pleasant time of year in these cities, in other parts of the U.S., it's downright sweltering. Those in Phoenix or Las Vegas, for instance, are no strangers to heat wave warnings (via AccuWeather). When the summertime heat just won't quit, staying cool is essential.

With extreme heat comes very real health risks, some of which can be fatal. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that extreme heat accounts for more than 700 deaths annually. For this reason, it's important to stay safe and hydrated — and not just during the daytime. In addition to staying indoors, wearing lightweight clothing, and drinking water on a regular basis, a nighttime shower can also work wonders for staying cool as you get ready for bed. But not just any shower will do — when the weather is blistering, water temperature matters. And contrary to what you may think, cold water isn't necessarily the answer.

Opt for a warm shower instead

Rather than leap into an icy-cold shower, your body may be better served by turning up the water to a moderately warm temperature. In doing so, you boost blood flow to the skin's surface, which allows the body to release more heat, reports The Conversation. However, you may not get instant gratification with this method. It can take a few minutes before you start to notice the cooling effects of a warm shower.

Conversely, fast relief is what makes cold showers so tempting. As soon as that frigid water hits your skin, your sensory receptors pick up on feelings of cold. While this may feel great in the short-term, blood flow is reduced as our blood vessels shrink to help keep us warm (via The Guardian). This causes the body to retain more heat, ultimately increasing our core temperature. As a result, it doesn't take long before you start feeling overheated once more. With the weather hot enough as it is, the last thing we need is a night spent sweating due to increased body temperature.

When cold water can help keep us cool

No need to crank up the heat too high, however. The Guardian suggests sticking with lukewarm shower water. More specifically, you'll want to hover around 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit (via The Conversation). However, this doesn't mean that cold water doesn't have its place in keeping us cool. The difference is in the speed of immersion. Cold showers are often short and abrupt, but gradual cold exposure, such as going for a leisurely dip in a cool pond, can be more effective in keeping the body comfortably chilled.

If you know you'll be facing a long summer of record-breaking heat, keep the following tips in mind to get a better, cooler night's sleep. For starters, save your heavier pajamas for the wintertime. Shorts and T-shirts made of breathable fabrics will be your best friend. Additionally, keep the bedroom as cool as possible. Set your air conditioning below 77 degrees Fahrenheit and turn on some fans for added air circulation (per CNN). Finally, keep your fluid intake up and alcohol consumption low. Alcohol leeches the body of water, and nobody wants to be sweating throughout a hot and humid night.