It’s an issue almost as divisive as putting milk in first when making a cup of tea: Is it better to shower in the morning or the evening?
Those in the former camp wax lyrical about the energising effects of a shower and argue a bracing blast of water wakes them up for the day.
But those of us who prefer to end the day with a relaxing hot shower say they couldn’t possibly get into bed dirty and they sleep much better as a result.
Who’s right though?
It turns out, the evening washers. Of course, if you want to shower in the morning there’s nothing to stop you, but you should absolutely shower before bed.
“If you like to shower in the morning, do it,” Nancy Rothstein, who calls herself The Sleep Ambassador, told Fox News. “But definitely shower at night. It’s so important to go to bed clean, and it separates the day from the night.”
And if you’ve been wearing sandals, you should at the very least wash your feet before hitting the sheets.
However there are health benefits to both morning and evening washing.
“A morning shower allows for time to meditate and regroup before starting a long or hectic day,” said Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine.
“This mindfulness can decrease inflammation in the skin by keeping levels of a hormone called cortisol capped.”
And if you have to shave, Gohara says it’s best to do so in the morning because you’ll be more aware and thus less likely to cut yourself. Equally, she says: “Mornings are the best time to shave because that’s when you have a surge of platelets - or blood cloggers.”
Your skin may look better after a morning shower too: “Our skin is at its best after your skin routine is done first thing in the morning,” said Yen Reis, founder of Skin Laundry.
“This is prior to facing any free radicals, sun, dirt or debris, which inevitably attack our skin the minute we walk out the door.”
Skin cells, having relaxed overnight, are stimulated by a morning shower and Reis says this is particularly important for combination, oily or acne-prone skin. Don’t make the water too hot though:
“Lukewarm water is best,” Reis says. “While a morning shower can make your skin appear healthier, a too-hot shower can have the opposite effect, specifically for dry and sensitive skin.”
Despite this, experts say nighttime showers have many benefits for your skin too - it’s important to remove all the makeup, oil, dirt and pollutants that have accumulated on your skin throughout the day.
Skin benefits aside though, perhaps the best argument in the case for showering before bed is how it affects the quality of your sleep.
“When you get into bed, you should feel clean,” says Rothstein. “You’ve been out and about all day - why would you want to get into bed like that?
“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!”
Again, lukewarm water is ideal because it relaxes the body without putting you at risk of overheating in bed.
“Think of your shower as a segue to sleep,” Rothstein says. “The better you sleep, the better your hair and skin will look. So even if you’re exhausted and just want to crash, get in the shower and let the water run on your face and body.”
But if you’re adamant about showering after getting up, should you just do so twice a day? Not necessarily, as this could actually dry out your skin and worsen any existing conditions, according to Dr Gohara.
So for better skin, sleep and all-round health, it might be time to switch to evening showers. The morning queue for the bathroom will be a thing of the past.
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