You lie comfortably on the sofa or in bed, you sneak peeks toward the bathroom, and you ponder…To shower or not to shower?
The inability to make this life-changing decision is exponentially reflective of your overthinking power. Imagine your predicament when you need to make decisions of where you want to be in ten years or who you should marry. Nonetheless, for the curious-hearted, let us attempt to look at this question a little more empathetically and critically.
Is it better to shower in the morning or at night?
Irrespective of where the hands of the clock are placed, a shower cleans you up. At least it’s intended to. There is also no rocket science behind the interaction between water and your skin.
If you have concerns on whether or not you are more prone to catching a cold when you bathe at night, you have nothing to worry. The common cold is a viral infection that is not influenced by the clock. Also, how strong your immunity is depends more on sleep and wake than night and day.1 So, while you may get into a sneezing fit as you step out of a hot shower at night, it is probably due to nasal irritation with the moist shower air or an allergic reaction to your soap or shampoo ingredient. (Never thought of that, did you?)
When considering whether to crawl out of bed and into the shower or whether to do the reverse, what you should really be considering is what is the purpose of the shower, that is obviously in addition to squeaking you clean.
Shower in the morning…
If you need to be creative:
Have you observed that you seem to solve the most difficult problems most easily when you’re not really thinking about it? It’s not coincidence, it’s brain programming. During the incubation period, that is when you’re not really thinking, your brain exhibits its maximum Michaelangelo/Einstein/Zuckerberg skills—maximum creativity.2 This phase works like meditation. While showering, we so mechanically switch to autopilot mode as we soap ourselves and shampoo our hair.
Because these activities don’t require much thought (Hopefully not! Toddlers are excused.), our brain is allowed to drift into the incubation phase. This is great if you have to write an amazing story that day or pitch an irrefutable proposal to your boss.
However, you need to give it time. You can’t rush genius. Enjoy your Archimedes eureka moment, just don’t run out like he did.
If you plan to shave:
Many (lazy/busy) women (those who prefer the razor over wax) use shower time to shave. But for most of us clumsy lot, that godforsaken razor just has to inevitably slip and nick. Since blood clots fastest between 6 and 9 am, shaving during this time would thankfully mean your cuts will heal sooner.3 So indirectly, showering in the morning would make more sense if you need to shave while you’re doing so.
If you have unsexy bed hair:
While some of us intentionally sleep with damp hair to wake up with ‘natural’ curls, a whole lot of us (talking to you, frizzy-haired) just can’t ever afford doing that.
Messy bed hair is not one of our attributes and it is best washed off ASAP. A morning shower would work for you silent sufferers.
If you’re a late nighter:
Working till wee hours of the morning or partying (a little) too hard on weekdays…
…can really take its toll on your melatonin (read: sleep hormone). Dozing off while talking at a meeting or snoring so loud in class that you wake yourself awake is bound to happen. A cold morning shower may just be what you need to shock your body awake—much like the key on a winding toy.
Shower in the night…
If you want your cortisol (stress hormone) to nosedive:
A nice hot shower at any point of time (and space) is more than welcome and relaxing. It may be particularly required at the end of a long, very long, arduous, knackering day. Just reading about it makes you droop your shoulders and lean back, doesn’t it? It is quite the stress buster.
If you want to catch some peaceful zzz’s:
A hot shower increases your body temperature. As you step out into normal room temperature or even an air-conditioned room, your body temperature goes spiralling downhill rapidly. Your core body temperature needs to drop for you to rack out.4 A lower temperature slows down your metabolism (heart rate, breathing, digestion), telling your body ‘Enough for today. It’s time to retire.’5 Think of it as a warm up before a game, only it is a cool down.
The temperature of the water you use and the time you spend in the shower (including your bathroom karaoke) are important.
A hot 5-15 minute shower (around 104°F) is advised. You may gradually lower the temperature toward the end of your performance…we mean shower. If the shower water is too hot, it may amp up your metabolism, keeping you alert and awake. So, remember not to keep the water too hot or spend too much time enjoying the steam.
A pre-bedtime shower may be particularly helpful for insomniacs who are incapable of body thermoregulation.6
If you want to keep your skin clean:
Facial oil production is usually minimal in the middle of the night and maximum around 1 PM. Without complicated calculus, it is easy to understand why it would be more useful to shower at night instead of the morning. You basically want to get rid of maximum oil and grime, so you don’t get acne. Cleaning yourself before hitting the sack also keeps your bed linen cleaner for longer–another desirable for acne prevention.
For those of you who struggle with acne problems or have naturally oily skin, this is an effective lifestyle change you can make.
If you want to save some time or snooze some more in the morning:
Yes, you can do your little tribal dance in glee. How satisfying those extra 20 minutes of sleep will be! By showering at night, you can slow down your morning routine by saving on shower time. A morning rush will no longer be concern, giving you ample time to have a hearty breakfast and get some time to just breathe.
If you think twice of gyming when clean:
If you’re one of those who thinks twice of walking into the gym when clean (some sort of ]I want to stay clean’ mentality) and you prefer to gym in the evening, showering at night may be more feasible for you. Let’s just say you will be able to hurdle over your illogical mind block.
It comes down to personal preference. How well your shower time blends into your perpetually busy schedule is something you have probably figured out by now.
Stick to what works for you. Some of us like showering before we start our day, some of us want to feel clean before we tuck in, and the rest of us skittish lot just can’t make up our sporadic minds. The ball is in your court.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Luciana Besedovsky, Tanja Lange, Jan Born. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2012.|
|2.||↑||Simone M. Ritter, Ap Dijksterhuis. Creativity—the unconscious foundations of the incubation period. Front Hum Neurosci. 2014.|
|3.||↑||Tofler GH, Brezinski D, Schafer AI, Czeisler CA, Rutherford JD, Willich SN, Gleason RE, Williams GH, Muller JE. Concurrent morning increase in platelet aggregability and the risk of myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death. N Engl J Med. 1987.|
|4.||↑||Kräuchi K. The thermophysiological cascade leading to sleep initiation in relation to phase of entrainment. Sleep Med Rev. 2007.|
|5.||↑||Ellis C, Lemmens G, Parkes D. Pre-sleep behaviour in normal subjects. J Sleep Res. 1995.|
|6.||↑||Lack LC, Gradisar M, Van Someren EJ, Wright HR, Lushington K. The relationship between insomnia and body temperatures. Sleep Med Rev. 2008.|