Taking a shower doesn’t seem like something you can really mess up, unless, of course, you’re not doing it at all. It’s a simple, basic task that we all do every day (or, for some, most days), and it doesn’t feel like it requires much instruction past age, like, five. But here’s the thing: you can still be making mistakes in the shower. One major mishap that I’m sure a lot of you are guilty of? Showering at the wrong time of day.
Science has discovered the best time of day to take a shower, and it probably isn’t what you’re thinking. The perfect time to shower for the most benefits is at night – not in the morning. This is my chance to feel very superior and smug, because I shower at night much more often than in the AM – I would just prefer to sleep a little longer, TBH – so let me have my moment, okay? Ah. Nice. Moving on.
Morning showers are really popular, which is why a lot of people assume this is the time you should wash off every day. And it’s not hard to see why they’re so common. Showering when you wake up can help you feel more alert and ready for the day, it’s a nice and relaxing ritual, and it helps your hair and makeup look super fresh (showering in the morning is a great way to prime your face for makeup). It’s quite pleasant to get dressed for the day when you smell delightful and feel refreshed, even though it’s too early to function. That said, there are actually more benefits to a nighttime shower. What are they? Let’s discuss:
1. It’s better for your skin. According to Dr. Mona Gohara, M.D. associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, for Glamour, showering at night is better for your skin than showering in the AM. A shower is your best way of removing all of the makeup, oil, dirt, and pollutants that have piled up on your skin throughout the day. Sure, using a face wash helps too, but that only gets your face and maybe your neck – a shower gets your whole body, which makes more sense, because pollutants and dirt don’t stop at our clavicles. Plus, it’s good to get your skin super clean before bed. Dr. Gohara says, “Your skin naturally exfoliates and replenishes itself at night, so you leave a clean slate when the proverbial factory is open.”
2. It might be better at preventing breakouts. Speaking of being good for your skin, PM showers might be better for preventing pimples. The oil production in your face peaks at around 1PM in the afternoon, so showering at night does a better job of removing that oil and the residue accompanying it than showering in the morning. Washing that oil off before essentially sleeping on it as it collects on your pillow (ick) is way better than laying in it all night and THEN washing it off.
3. It can help you sleep better. If you don’t care about your skin, maybe you’re more interested in getting some shut eye. If you struggle with insomnia or you want to fall asleep better, you should try taking a shower at night – it can make your body temperature where it needs to be to fall asleep. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, your body temperature is really important when it comes to dozing off, and your bodily temperature drop that happens after a shower mimic it’s natural thermal regulation. Basically, cooling off after a hot shower makes you feel sleepy, which is obviously what you want at night. The trick is to make sure the water is warm and not scalding hot, as that might actually make you stay awake longer.
On top of the body temperature thing, showering before bed is just a relaxing ritual. It helps you wind down, it’s a great time to de-stress and think through any of the issues you’d normally think about while laying in bed, and it feels nice. So, sure, a shower can be refreshing when you’re trying to wake up, but that’s usually if it’s on the cooler side – warmer temps could make you more sleepy, and you want that when you’re about to go to bed.
4. It gives you more time in the morning. Something that will resonate with almost everyone? Getting your shower done at night gives you extra time in the morning to sleep later or leisurely get ready. It’s hard to argue with that logic.
Obviously showering in the morning isn’t the worst thing you can do, and nothing bad is going to happen to you if you continue to do it after reading this. But hey, it’s good to know that you might get better benefits from switching up your ritual. Think about how nice it feels to crawl under the covers after taking a warm shower!
If you really can’t imagine ditching your AM shower, then do both – you can use a shower cap for one of them so you don’t wash your hair too often. It’s worth it to get clean at both times.
When do you shower? What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments.