What is the optimum bath length?

By Brenna

15th Nov 2023

4 mins read

Company News

How long to stay in the bath, according to science

When the temperature starts to drop, there’s nothing more comforting than pampering yourself with a long, hot bath. Baths are known to improve how you sleep and aid relaxation - you can practically feel your troubles floating away.

Whether you’re a regular bather, or just dip your toe in the water from time to time, it’s worth considering how to get the most out of your time in the tub.

To work out the perfect conditions, we conducted a study to uncover how long you should stay in the bath, as well as the perfect bath time activity to dive into.

How long should you stay in the bath for?

The optimum length of time to stay in the bath is 22 minutes, according to our recent study.

Optimum Bath Time

Our experiment saw 20 participants, half male and half female, take baths of varying lengths, rating each one based on how they felt afterwards in terms of relaxation, sleep quality and hydration.

By analysing the data, we were able to determine the exact length of time in the tub to leave you feeling your very best.

We concluded that 22 minutes is the perfect amount of time in the bath to maximise relaxation and have a good night's sleep whilst avoiding dehydration.  

Bath time by factor

What are the most relaxing bath conditions? 

22 minutes is the best bath length overall - but for relaxation specifically, opt for 21 minutes.

In fact, we found that a bath that is 21 minutes long, where you scroll on your phone throughout, is the ideal bath condition to maximise relaxation.

That’s right - people who scroll on their phone during their bathtime were found to be the most relaxed afterwards (clearly unphased by drop risks).

This was followed by those who reportedly did NOTHING (you do you…) and then participants who immersed themselves in a good book.

bathing activities

Our data also suggests that people who take baths more regularly find them more relaxing on the whole. But this could be because our study found that people who take more baths are generally more stressed - sorry to burst your bubble… 

What kind of bath will give you the best night's sleep?

The best bath for a good night’s sleep should be 27 minutes long, and you should read a book during.

Despite leading to higher relaxation rates, scrolling on your phone during a bath is the least effective activity to aid a good night’s sleep. This (combined with the possibility of your phone taking a dive) indicates it’s best to opt for another option.

The tub-time activities that resulted in the best quality of sleep that night, in order of effectiveness, are:

  1. Reading a book
  2. Listening to music
  3. Doing nothing
  4. Listening to a podcast
  5. Watching TV
  6. Scrolling on your phone

Why not double down and put some tunes on whilst cracking open a good book - you’ll sleep like a baby!

Best activity for sleeping

Can baths help you to sleep?

Dr. Hana Patel, NHS GP and GP Medico-Legal Expert Witness shared why a bath can help aid sleep with us. She said:

“I usually advise patients to have a sleep routine and try and spend at least one to one and a half hours to wind down before going to sleep. I usually recommend that people who are finding it difficult to sleep, try things such as meditating or having a warm bath before going to bed.”

“Research and evidence show that either a warm bath or shower before bed can help a person fall asleep and improve sleep quality — even in the heat of summer. The reason for this is that a bath will help lower your core body temperature, and this can help with our circadian sleep signals.” 

Men and women need different bath lengths for a good night’s sleep

Within our experiment, we uncovered that different genders will benefit from varying bath lengths for the best night’s sleep.

The results suggest that women will get a better night's sleep after a 30-minute bath, whereas 19 minutes in the tub is better for men to get their forty winks.

Bath time based on gender

You’ll likely be dehydrated after a 28 minute bath

The longest you can stay in a bath, without likely becoming dehydrated, is 27 minutes, based on our findings. At 28 minutes, it’s probable that you’ll come out needing a drink of water (and looking a little wrinkly).

This supports the advice of some professionals, who suggest that baths should be no longer than 30 minutes.

If you’re looking to up your bath game, browse our extensive range of baths and our bathroom accessories to makeover the most important room in the home.


Which kind of bather are you?

Kind of bather?


We conducted a study over a 10-day period, consisting of 20 participants; 10 male and 10 female. The participants took three baths over the course of the study, of varying lengths, rating how relaxed they felt after, how well they slept, and whether they felt dehydrated after each one. Conditions of the bath were kept the same for the three baths, including bath activity and time of day of the bath.

Brenna blog author


Brenna is one of our dedicated bathroom bloggers here at VP HQ. Look out for her posts on all the latest interiors trends, as well as expert how-tos on all manner of bathroom DIY jobs.

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