Warm Steam Inhalation before Bedtime Improved Sleep Quality in Adult Men

Tomohisa Ichiba*, Kenta Kakiuchi, Masahiro Suzuki, Makoto Uchiyama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In humans, the inhalation of warm steam has been reported to decrease the respiratory rate. However, the effects of warm steam inhalation on sleep have not been studied closely. This study aimed to examine the effects of warm steam inhalation before bedtime on subsequent sleep quality. The participants included 17 adult men with mild sleep difficulties and anxiety. All experiments were conducted in the participants' homes. The participants were instructed to wear a warm steam-generating mask or sham mask over the nose and mouth for 15 minutes immediately before habitual bedtime and were then allowed to sleep until their habitual waking time. The functional mask provided approximately 600 mg of steam for 10 minutes and maintained an interior temperature of 38-40°C for 15 minutes. We evaluated the participants' electrocardiograms and subjective moods while wearing the mask. During sleep, electroencephalograms (EEGs) were recorded using a single-channel portable device. In the morning, each participant was instructed to report their sleep details subjectively using a visual analog scale. At bedtime, the subjects' subjective apprehension of the next day was reduced significantly under steam inhalation, compared with the sham condition. Compared to the sham condition, steam inhalation before bedtime was associated with a higher EEG delta power density during the first third of sleep episodes and better subjective sleep quality in the morning. These results suggest that safe and easy inhalation of warm steam via a steam-generating mask improves psychological relaxation and sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2453483
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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