Study: Is it better to shower in the morning or at night?

Published: March 25, 2020


Is there a right time to shower?

Some people prefer to do it at night, washing away the dirt of the day so that they can hop into the sheets nice and clean. Others can’t imagine starting the day without a thorough rinse. It’s a wake-up call that rivals a steaming mug of strong coffee. But personal choices aside, is there any real benefit to showering at night or in the morning?

Turns out, nighttime washing has the edge when it comes to sleep benefits, reported Real Simple. “Showering or taking a bath prior to bedtime can help improve sleep quality and help you to fall asleep faster,” said Dr Elizabeth Culnan of Rush University Medical Center in an interview with the health site.

According to her, the key to showering efficiently is in the timing to promote good sleep. “Showering 1.5-2 hours before bed will warm your body and then also allow you to experience a more pronounced dip in body temperature, which promotes sleep.”

As summer approaches, experts also recommend that a nighttime shower or bath is especially beneficial in warmer climates. “In hotter weather, it may be difficult to get the natural drop in body temperature needed for good sleep. That’s where the shower or bath can help,” said Mia Finkelston, MD and family physician. “This drop in body temperature causes our body to slow down our heart rate, breathing rate and digestion — getting our bodies into the perfect rhythm for optimal sleep.”

Don’t wait too long before bedtime to get clean, however, or you may be awake all night. Experts warned that a shower too close to bedtime will heat the body and not leave enough time for your body temperature to dip.

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Sad news for morning shower people. There are no real scientific advantages to morning showers, although health experts acknowledge that it may be therapeutic to some.

Taking a shower as part of your daily morning routine may act as what psychologists call a zeitgeber, basically an external cue that provides information to the brain’s clock that it’s time to start the day.

But be careful with the heat of the water blasting from your shower head. A shower can invigorate your senses, as long as it’s not too long or too hot. According to naturopathic experts, if you really love a hot shower, follow it up with a cold water blast.

Ultimately, naturopathic doctors often recommend a thousands of years old practice called hydrotherapy, which includes alternating hot and cold temperatures to awaken the system, increase blood flow and support immunity.

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