Aside from forming part of a person’s essential hygiene routine, showers can have many beneficial effects. For starters, they’re a great way of winding down after a long day – especially if you’re feeling particularly tense or stressed out.
Studies have also proven that showers are pretty great at stimulating creative thought, which is why so many people come up with abstract ideas while washing their hair, or think of the perfect (albeit delayed) comeback while scrubbing their butt.
And, as if you didn’t need more reasons use up all your hot water before your family members or housemates have a chance to take a dip in the tub, doctors have recently found yet another benefit of taking a hot shower in the evening.
Dr. Dianna Augelli of the Center for Sleep Medicine in New York has conducted studies in order to examine the effects of taking a warm bath or shower before going to bed, and the results seem to prove what many people have believed for a long time.
To put it in its most basic terms: having a shower will help you sleep better. However, you have to time it just right, and make sure you soak yourself at the correct temperature, otherwise you could end up just waking yourself up even more.
“You don’t want to heat yourself up right before bed,” says Dr. Augelli. “Cooling down is a signal that tells us we’re supposed to go to sleep.”
In order to get the desired effects, you should take a shower around 90 minutes before you plan on going to sleep, as this will give your body enough time to cool down and prepare for some shut-eye.
But what does this mean for morning shower-ers?
Well, there are many undeniable benefits to getting washed up in the morning.
“A morning shower allows for time to meditate and regroup before starting a long or hectic day,” says Mona Gohara, a professor of dermatology at Yale. “This mindfulness can decrease inflammation in the skin by keeping levels of a hormone called cortisol capped.”
She also noted that, “Mornings are the best time to shave because that’s when you have a surge of platelets – or blood cloggers.”
However, while it might help out your skin, waiting until the evening to have a shower (or washing at both times) is better for your health overall.
“When you get into bed, you should feel clean,” says Nancy Rothstein, a woman who calls herself The Sleep Ambassador. “You’ve been out and about all day – why would you want to get into bed like that?”
She goes on:
“A nighttime shower is an integral part of your ‘preparing for bed’ routine. It’s time for you – no phone, no emails, just the luxury of fresh, warm water flowing over your body. Call it an opportunity to shower yourself with mindfulness!”
It’s also important to remember that hotter temperatures will open your pores and potentially damage your skin, so it’s better to keep the water at a medium heat. Also, if you want to make sure your pores are closed up again before hitting the hay, splash a little cold water on your face after performing your regular skincare regime.
So, if you’re reading this in the evening, what are you waiting for? Grab a towel and a loofa and get yourself in that shower.