What happens if you take cold showers every night?

Taking a cold shower every night may seem unpleasant, but it actually provides many health benefits. Cold showers have been shown to improve circulation, boost immunity, increase alertness, and even help with depression. Here’s an in-depth look at what happens when you take cold showers daily.

You’ll wake up feeling more energized

One of the most immediate effects of cold showers is that they helps wake you up in the morning. The cold water triggers a stress response, releasing cortisol and adrenaline into your bloodstream. This gives you a boost of energy and mental clarity at the start of your day.

Many people find that taking cold showers in the morning helps them feel more energized, focused and productive during the day. It’s a great way to start your morning feeling refreshed.

Your circulation will improve

Hot showers can sometimes leave you feeling drained and sluggish. Cold showers, on the other hand, provide an invigorating rush of blood through the entire body. They cause the blood vessels near the skin to constrict while increasing blood flow to your organs.

Over time, taking cold showers every day can strengthen your blood vessels and capillaries. This leads to improved circulation which brings nutrients and oxygen to your cells more efficiently.

You’ll burn more calories

Cold temperatures can cause your body to burn more calories as it tries to warm itself up. This is known as “non-shivering thermogenesis.”

One study found that exposure to temperatures of 59°F increased metabolic rate by over 350% compared to temperatures of 86°F. Your body essentially starts burning its own fat and glucose reserves to raise your temperature back up to normal.

So by taking cold showers regularly, you may notice you’re burning slightly more calories throughout the day even when not exercising.

Your hair and skin may improve

Hot water can dry out and damage both hair and skin over time. Cold water is much better for locking in moisture and nutrients.

If you have issues with dry or damaged skin, cold showers can help improve your complexion. They close pores, prevent natural oils from being stripped away, and may even reduce acne breakouts.

Cold water also smooths the hair cuticle, improving shine and reducing frizz. If you style your hair in the morning, cold showers are best for maintaining smooth, strong hair.

Your immunity gets stronger

Regular cold exposure has been shown to reduce illness and infections. One study found that people who swam regularly in cold water called “winter swimmers” had increased levels of white blood cells and lymphocytes compared to non-swimmers.

These are the cells that help fight off viruses and bacteria. So taking frequent cold showers may help boost your immunity by training your body to better respond to pathogens and inflammation.

You’ll feel an endorphin rush

Exposing your body to cold water causes your sympathetic nervous system to activate. This is the system responsible for the “fight or flight” response.

As part of this response, your brain releases endorphins – chemicals that block pain signals and act as natural painkillers. This results in feelings of euphoria that some people find addictive.

So cold showers can actually cause a slight “high” by triggering your body’s endorphins. You may find yourself in a great mood and feeling energized after taking cold showers every night.

It promotes muscle recovery

After an intense workout, plunging into a cold shower can help reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery.

The cold causes blood vessels to constrict while shunting blood to your organs. When you get out, fresh nutrient-rich blood flows back into your tired muscles. This influx of new blood helps remove metabolic waste products and deliver oxygen and nutrients to repair damaged tissue.

Athletes have been using cold water immersion and ice baths for years to help their muscles recover faster and prevent injuries. So post-workout cold showers can be very beneficial if you exercise regularly.

You may lose some fat

As mentioned earlier, your body burns more calories when exposed to cold temperatures as it tries to warm itself up. This may lead to slight fat loss over time.

One study had participants immerse themselves in a 57°F bath for an hour a day for six weeks. They found that the men lost significant visceral fat – the type that collects around organs and is linked to disease.

So while the effect is small, taking cold showers every night may help boost fat burning and promote modest fat loss, especially around stubborn areas. Just don’t expect dramatic weight loss results.

It could help treat depression

Interestingly, frequent cold exposure has also been shown to have mood-boosting effects. The cold triggers the release “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in the brain.

It also helps reduce inflammation which has been linked to depression and other mental health issues. Many people report feeling more calm, clear-headed and optimistic after taking regular cold showers.

So if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or general depression, incorporating cold showers into your daily routine may help boost your mood.

You’ll feel less stressed

The cold water initiates the fight-or-flight response which causes your sympathetic nervous system to activate. But there’s no real danger, so your parasympathetic system kicks in to return your body to a state of calm.

This back-and-forth regulation of your nervous system has a training effect. Over time, you learn how to better handle stress and return to a relaxed state.

Taking cold showers every night can essentially “toughen you up” mentally so you’re better equipped to deal with daily stressors and triggers.

Possible downsides of cold showers

While the benefits of cold showers are compelling, there are a few potential downsides to consider as well:

  • May aggravate existing health conditions like asthma, heart disease, or varicose veins
  • Can be uncomfortable at first until you acclimate
  • Not recommended for young children due to risk of hypothermia
  • May increase muscle tension, cramping or spasms
  • Can affect sleep quality if taken too close to bedtime

As with any new habit, it’s best to start slowly and see how your body responds. If you have any medical issues or concerns, discuss cold showers with your doctor first.

How to make your cold showers more comfortable

Here are some tips to ease into cold showers and make the experience less shocking:

  • Start with lukewarm water and gradually decrease the temperature
  • Only shower for 2-3 minutes at first
  • Breathe deeply and continuously as you acclimate
  • Buy a shower filter – unfiltered water feels colder
  • Play upbeat music to distract your mind
  • Begin with just your legs or feet and work your way up

With practice, you’ll eventually adapt and be able to handle longer, colder showers. But remember to work your way up slowly from warm to cold water.

Final recommendations on cold showers

If you’re looking to try cold showers, start by taking one every other day or a few times per week. Pay attention to how your energy, mood, and health respond.

Try to shower in the morning or early afternoon since cold exposure too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep. And don’t force yourself to stay in longer than feels comfortable.

Over time, you may enjoy and look forward to your brisk cold showers. Just give your body a chance to adapt to the new routine.

With the myriad benefits from improved circulation to mood boosts, taking regular cold showers can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Just be smart about how you implement this habit.


Taking a cold shower every night may not seem very enticing, but it provides a wide range of health and wellness benefits. Regular cold exposure can improve your circulation, immunity, mood, skin and hair health. It also helps accelerate post-workout muscle recovery.

Start gradually with cold water exposure and give your body time to acclimate. Pay attention to how the habit affects your energy, productivity, stress levels and general well-being. Most people find that the briskness of cold showers provides a welcome sense of vitality.

So don’t knock it until you try it – taking a cold shower each night could become a refreshing ritual you end up looking forward to.

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