Cold shower

I’m a fan of cold showers.

Many research shows (links below), that lowering the water temperature below 15°C (60°F) and having a shower has many benefits for your health:

  • Improve mental health and boost immunity
  • Increase metabolism
  • Improve circulation and helps post-workout recovery
  • Reduce inflammation and prevent muscle soreness
  • Relieve localized pain
  • Combat symptoms of depression

How I do it

I used to follow Tim Ferriss’ “Ice Age” routine, but now I mostly do only point number 3:

  1. Place an ice pack on the back of the neck or upper trapezius area for 20–30 minutes, preferably in the evening, when insulin sensitivity is lowest. I place a towel on the couch while writing or watching a movie and simply lean back against the ice pack.
  2. Consume at least 500 milliliters of ice water on an empty stomach immediately upon waking. Eat breakfast 20–30 minutes later.
  3. Take 5–10-minute cold showers before breakfast and/or before bed. Use hot water for 1–2 minutes over the entire body, then step out of water range, and apply shampoo and soap to your hair and face. Turn the water to pure cold and rinse your head and face alone. Then turn around and back into the water, focusing the water on your lower neck and upper back. Maintain this position for 1–3 minutes as you acclimate and apply soap to all the necessary regions. Then turn around and rinse normally. Expect this to wake you up like a foghorn.
Tim Ferris, quote from “The 4-Hour Body” book (slightly edited for brevity)

For me, it works both ways. In the morning, it wakes me up and boosts my energy levels to the sky. Before bed, it helps me to sleep better. The drop in body temperature after a cold shower can induce relaxation and aid in falling asleep faster.1

I also noticed that with the slight symptoms of a common cold, I would feel better and recover faster after a cold shower. Again, it might be a placebo effect, or autosuggestion (in the psychological sense of the word), but it works for me. I’m not a doctor, so be skeptical, try on your own risk, and consult your healthcare professional.

  1. Sharon Hame, MD, a UCLA Health orthopedic surgeon
  2. Mahammad Juber, MD
  3. Pubmed

1. Call me a self-improvement geek, but I also wear blue-light-filtering glasses at evenings, 2-3 hours before bed, and have a “no devices in the bedroom” rule. If you have trouble falling asleep, try that.