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An easy way to keep cool in the “dog days” of summer is with a cold shower, but did you know that it also provides several key health benefits? Heck, if you’re adventurous enough to brave the mall on Black Friday or sit through your niece’s three-hour dance recital – her time in the spotlight roughly ten minutes or less – then you’re most certainly up to the occasional cold shower.

Here’s why you ought to think twice about it, even if the idea doesn’t immediately thrill you:

Increase alertness: A cold shower increases your feeling of alertness and improves attention and concentration. See how it compares to that cup of coffee in the morning!

Moister skin: A warm shower is lovely but the heat is very drying to the skin. As autumn approaches the air gets drier, and having the heat on at work or home dries out your skin even more. By contrast, cold water makes skin and hair feel smooth by closing pores and makes hair look extra shiny by tightening the hair follicles.

Circulation: The cold water lowers your core body temperature which provides lots of health benefits to the body. A cold shower can lower your blood pressure, increases blood flow to organs, and also improves immunity by getting your body to warm itself up again.

Relieves depression: Studies have shown that a cold shower can reduce symptoms of depression. The increase in electromagnetic energy in the slightly chilled body increases the number of endorphins and other chemicals in the body; that makes the brain better able to uptake the body’s natural anti-depressant chemicals.

Lose weight: When the body’s core temperature drops, it has to work even harder to warm it back up again. This process will increase your metabolism along with the number of calories burned. Also, shivering not only burns calories but helps the body release a hormone that burns fat and makes the body act the same way it would if it had just been exercising.

Better quality sleep: A warm bath is well known as a good medicine for getting to sleep, but did you know a cold shower could do the same thing? A cold shower tells your brain it’s time for sleep by reducing your core body temperature. It also improves your ability to stay asleep.

Only you know how important it is for you to achieve one or more of these goals, but there’s no doubt that a steady diet of cold showers can help you succeed. And just think of all the hot water you’ll save and the reduced wear and tear on your water heater!