Baths are relaxing. This is, while perhaps not a universal truth, at least a decidedly uncontroversial opinion to have. And while research on bathing isn’t the booming field of study it deserves to be, the data we do have supports their stress-relieving powers. People who regularly take baths seem to have lower stress levels and be less depressed than people who just shower. Submerging yourself in water on the regular may even help make you less angry.
What’s more, a nice soak isn’t just helpful for your mental health: It does your whole body good. Several studies have shown that frequent bathers are more likely to report that they feel healthy than other folks, and tend to sleep better. One large study in Japan found that bathing can lower a person’s risk of stroke and heart disease, perhaps by lowering blood pressure and improving blood vessel function. There’s even some evidence that “passive heating”—when you warm your body up in a bath or sauna, as opposed to with vigorous exercise—can help control blood sugar.