Cold water immersion involves immersing the body in cold water with temperatures ranging between 37-59 degrees Fahrenheit. The time in the cold water will range between 1-10 minutes based on experience level and cold water tolerance. But a common question is when is the best time to take a dip in a cold plunge or ice bath? In this blog article, we will answer this question and many more.
Before we dive into the best times to cold plunge it is important to note that cold water immersion can be dangerous if it's not conducted properly. It's essential to start slowly and gradually increase the duration of your cold plunge bath.
Best Times To Cold Plunge
Now, let's get to the best time to take a cold plunge bath. The answer largely depends on your goals for the cold plunge bath. Here are a few different scenarios:
- After Exercise: Like me, some people like to take a cold plunge bath after a workout. Cold water immersion after a workout will help reduce inflammation and speed up the recovery process. It’s recommended that you hop in your cold tub no longer than 30 minutes after your workout.
- In The Morning: Taking a cold plunge bath in the morning can help to wake you up and give you a burst of energy to start the day. It can also improve mental clarity and focus. If you're using cold water immersion for this purpose, try taking the plunge as soon as you wake up.
- Before Bed: Contrary to popular belief, some people have found that taking a cold plunge bath before bed actually helps them sleep. The cold water can lower your body temperature which basically tells your body it’s time to sleep. If you are going to try this method, we recommend taking your cold bath an hour before you go to bed.
- Stress Relief: Taking a cold plunge bath or using cold water therapy has been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which directly correlates with the body’s ability to rest and relax. If I'm feeling stressed or anxious I simply hop in the ice bath to reset my mind and focus on my breathing. Since there is no way to predict a sudden onset of worry, there is no specific best time to take a cold plunge for this reason - just hop in whenever you feel like you need it.
In closing, the best time to take a cold plunge or an ice bath really depends on the benefits you are seeking from cold water immersion. Whether you are looking to get better sleep, increase athletic performance, or relieve stress, there may be a specific time that works best for you. As with any new experience, it may take time to see the full benefit, but it may be worth exploring and experimenting with time and temperature as you progress.
For more information on optimal time and temperature in a cold plunge CLICK HERE