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Best Time of Day to Cold Plunge

What Is the Best Time of Day to Cold Plunge?

Determining the best time of day to cold plunge is key to maximizing the health benefits of this chilling wellness practice. Cold water immersion, celebrated for enhancing recovery, stimulating the immune system, and boosting vigor, varies in effect depending on when you take the dip. 

Morning plunges may invigorate your day by boosting circulation and alertness, while an evening session can be a prelude to improved sleep quality.

Post-workout plunges can help in reducing muscle soreness. Tailoring cold plunge timing to your personal goals and lifestyle can enhance its therapeutic benefits.

Curious to know when to take the plunge for optimal results? Read on to learn more.

Is There a Best Time to Use a Cold Plunge?

When considering cold water therapy, the timing can influence its effectiveness for recovery, mood enhancement, and mental clarity. Specific times of day may offer distinct benefits depending on your goals and activities.

After Workouts in the Heat

Engaging in cold plunge therapy immediately after exercise, especially in hot conditions, can be crucial for rapidly reducing your core body temperature and aiding in muscle recovery. Post-workout immersion in cold water can help alleviate muscle soreness and inflammation.

First Thing in the Morning

Taking a morning cold plunge can jump-start your day by providing an invigorating boost, increased alertness, and a sharp sense of focus. The shock of the cold water can act as a mental reset, effectively waking up both mind and body, and setting a positive tone for the hours ahead.

Afternoon Break Time

An afternoon dip into cold water can serve as a refreshing mental reset to overcome midday lethargy. It's an opportunity to give yourself an energy boost, complement your body's natural circadian rhythm, and combat any stress accumulated from the day's work.

Following a Hot Sauna Session

Alternating between the heat of a sauna and a cold plunge can be particularly beneficial for circulation. Transitioning from a high temperature environment to cold water helps shock the system, potentially improving circulation and stabilizing core body temp with the contrasting temperatures.

Also read our guide: How Cold Is a Cold Plunge? Temperature for Cold Water & Ice Bath

How Often Should You Use a Cold Plunge?

Incorporating cold plunge therapy into your routine depends on several factors, including your physical activity levels, recovery goals, and any health or medical conditions. It's important to approach this practice with a plan that suits your personal needs.

Four Times Per Week Is the Goal

Starting a cold plunge therapy routine comes with an often-suggested frequency goal: four times per week. This regularity is believed to help maximize the therapy's benefits for recovery and overall well-being. However, always consider the intensity of your physical activity and adjust accordingly to prevent discomfort.

It Depends on Your Personal Needs

Your personal cold plunge schedule should be personalized. Tailor your sessions based on how your body feels post-plunge. Those with certain health conditions should exhibit caution and may need to consult a healthcare professional before establishing a routine.

Start Slow, and Pay Attention to How Your Body Responds

If you're new to cold plunge therapy, begin with a conservative approach—perhaps once a week—to acclimate your body. Listen to your body's responses and gradually increase the frequency as you grow more comfortable. Safety should always be your top priority; if you experience any negative reactions or discomfort, reassess your plan or seek guidance from a physician.

Related article: Cold Shower vs. Cold Plunge: Benefits and Differences

Benefits and Risks of Cold Plunge

Before exploring the world of cold plunging, it's important to recognize how this practice affects your body. You may experience both physical and psychological changes, including changes in your immune system and metabolism.

Understanding the Health Benefits

Cold water immersion is known for its potential health advantages. By submitting your body to the shock of cold exposure, cold plunging, such as taking ice baths, can activate your sympathetic nervous system, leading to a release of endorphins.

These biochemicals are responsible for what some refer to as a "natural high," providing a sense of euphoria and well-being. Furthermore, cold plunges may:

  • Enhance circulation: The constriction of blood vessels followed by the subsequent rush of blood upon warming up can improve your circulatory system.
  • Boost metabolic rate: Exposure to cold can increase the number of calories burned to maintain body temperature.
  • Reduce inflammation: Many athletes use ice baths to reduce muscle soreness after intense workouts.
  • Improve sleep quality: Some evidence suggests that an ice bath may help lower your body temperature, potentially leading to better sleep.
  • Normalize stress levels: Regular cold exposure might train your body to cope with stress more effectively.

Potential Risks to Consider

While the health benefits can be significant, cold plunging comes with a set of risks that should not be overlooked, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions like heart conditions or diabetes. Here are some safety concerns to keep in mind:

  • Shock to the system: The immediate drop in temperature can cause a shock, which might be dangerous for those with heart-related issues.
  • Hypothermia: Extended exposure to ice-cold water can lead to a dangerous drop in body temperature.
  • Vasoconstriction of blood vessels: This can cause complications if you have certain health conditions.

Always prioritize your safety and consider consulting a healthcare professional before engaging in cold plunging, especially if you have medical conditions that could be exacerbated by the practice.

Practical Tips for Cold Plunge Therapy

Before starting cold plunge therapy, understanding how to properly acclimate your body, optimize duration and frequency, and select the ideal temperature is essential for a safe and effective practice.

Acclimating to Cold Water Immersion

When you begin cold plunge therapy, start by gradually training your body for cold water exposure. Dip your feet and slowly progress over sessions to immerse your full body. This practice of acclimation helps in minimizing shock to your system and encourages vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels in response to cold.

Consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns before immersion in frigid water.

Optimizing Duration and Frequency

Your cold plunge tub sessions should have a specific duration and frequency that align with your recovery goals.

Initial plunges may last for as short as one minute, eventually extending to several minutes as you become more accustomed. For frequency, starting with once or twice a week is often recommended, and you can increase as your body adapts.





1-2 mins

1x per week


2-3 mins

2x per week


3-5 mins

2-3x per week

Choosing the Ideal Temperature

The ideal temperature for a cold plunge tub typically ranges from 39°F to 59°F (4°C to 15°C).

Start at the higher end of this temperature range and gradually move to colder temperatures.

Always monitor your core body temperature, and avoid staying in the water so long that you risk hypothermia.

You can adjust water temperatures based on your tolerance and specific temperature goals.

Remember, the ideal temperature is one that's cold enough to induce the desired therapeutic effects without causing harm.


The best time of day to cold plunge ultimately aligns with your personal goals and lifestyle. Whether you're seeking to kickstart your morning with a surge of energy, recover from a rigorous workout, or unwind for better sleep, timing your plunge can elevate the experience.

To incorporate cold plunging into your wellness routine or find out more about how this practice can benefit you, check out our diverse collection of cold plunge options.

Cold plunging is not a one-size-fits-all routine; it's about listening to your body and identifying the time that suits you best for reaping the maximum rewards. With an understanding of the potential health benefits and risks, as well as practical tips for safe practice, you're well on your way to a refreshing and revitalizing cold plunge journey.

Explore our collection to find the perfect cold plunge option for your needs, and take the first step toward a transformative wellness practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What not to do after a cold plunge?

After a cold plunge, avoid immediate exposure to extreme heat, like a hot shower or sauna, as the rapid temperature change may stress the body. It's also advisable to refrain from intense physical activity right after to allow your body to gradually return to its normal temperature and circulatory rhythm.

How do you maximize a cold plunge?

To maximize a cold plunge, acclimate your body gradually, start with shorter durations, and work up as your tolerance improves. Combine the plunge with controlled breathing techniques to enhance your body's response to the cold, and always finish with a period of relaxation to let the body recover and reap the full benefits.

Can I ice bath every day?

Yes, you can take an ice bath every day, particularly if you are an athlete or engage in regular intense physical activity. However, monitor your body's responses closely, as daily ice baths may not suit everyone. It's important to adjust the frequency according to your personal recovery needs and any medical advice you've received.

Should you dunk your head in a cold plunge?

Dunking your head in a cold plunge is optional and depends on your comfort level with the cold. Submerging your whole body, including your head, may enhance the mental clarity and alertness benefits. However, for those with cardiovascular concerns or who feel lightheaded when cold, it's best to keep your head above water.

Does cold plunge help with inflammation?

Cold plunges can help with inflammation by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to inflamed areas, which helps to minimize swelling and pain. Athletes often use cold therapy to reduce the inflammation that results from muscle damage during intense workout sessions.

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