Everybody has a unique shower routine based on whether they prefer to wash first thing in the morning or before bed. A shower’s influence on sleep plays a significant role in this decision.
Showers at night can make you feel sleepy. Shower 60-90 minutes before bed at a water temperature of 104-108 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will encourage your body and mind to enter a restful state.
Whether you shower in the morning, evening, or both, is entirely up to you. If you follow appropriate practices, showering will affect your mind and body similarly.
Can a Shower Keep You Awake?
For many people, the day hasn’t started until after you’ve showered. Whether you like to run hot or cold water, morning showers are often considered indispensable as a morning cup of coffee.
The question is, does a shower wake you up? In reality, the warm water of a shower relaxes the mind and loosens any muscles that grew tight and knotted overnight. However, this doesn’t mean you should cut showers out of your morning routine.
This opening of the mind is an indispensable part of starting the day. A relaxed brain leads to free-thinking ideas, making it more likely that you’ll be ready to tackle a day’s work. The last vestiges of sleepiness will be banished by leaving the shower.
A shower can also bring your body temperature back to its core level. Current Opinion in Physiology explains that the human body drops a few degrees while we sleep, and a warm shower speeds up the return to an anticipated equilibrium.
Alternatively, a cool shower can kickstart the metabolism and make you alert. This shouldn’t be attempted in one fell swoop, though. Start with warm water and gradually decrease the temperature rather than stepping under a stream of ice-cold water.
So, taking a shower in the morning is excellent for waking up. However, this doesn’t mean that showering at night will prevent you from sleeping.
Optimum Conditions for a Morning Shower
If you’re going to make the most of a morning shower, especially one intended to rouse you from lingering sleep and sluggishness, follow these guidelines:
- Hop into the shower when you wake up, not after hitting the snooze button multiple times
- Set water temperature to between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit
- If you can face it, decrease this temperature steadily while you’re under the water
- Keep the shower brief, preferably for 5-10 minutes. Do what you need to do, then get out.
By taking these steps, you’ll soon find that your morning shower meets all your expectations and keeps you feeling sharp.
Should I Shower Before Bed?
There are numerous advantages to doing so at night, including temperature regulation. A shower can reduce body heat as we sleep better when running cool.
A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science divided people into three groups; those that took a shower before bed; those that enjoyed a foot bath before bed; and those that returned to bed with no access to water. The first two groups fell asleep much faster and enjoyed higher quality sleep than the third.
Be aware that a shower isn’t a miracle cure for insomnia. Following up with a strong cup of coffee and a cardio workout will not encourage sleep. As part of a bedtime routine, showering can be invaluable to improving sleep hygiene.
What is the Best Time to Shower for Sleep?
The Journal of Sleep Research refers to the critical two hours before bed. If you aim to practice superior sleep hygiene, this is the slot that you should look to squeeze in a shower. Ideally, step under the water stream 60-90 minutes before retiring.
This time slot will help you sleep, provided you continue to practice good habits afterward. As we’ll discuss later, this post-shower time should be one of rest, not physical activity.
If you take it easy after an evening shower, your mind and body will feel ready for sleep. Showering at this point will gradually reduce your body temperature, leaving your body prepared for slumber. Open bedroom windows to aid this process further.
What Kind of Showers Help You Sleep?
Having established that you should consider taking a shower before heading to bed, further questions arise. Are hot showers good for sleep, or are cold showers good for sleep? As is so often the case, the truth is somewhere in between.
What is the Ideal Shower Temperature Before Sleep?
You need to avoid overly hot water before heading to bed. The purpose of taking an evening shower is to begin the process of thermoregulation. As per Sleep Medicine Reviews, this makes 104 – 108 degrees Fahrenheit the sweet spot.
Heating the water any higher than this is inadvisable. You may create steam in the bathroom, which is handy for opening the nasal passages and sleeping easier, but you’ll also risk scalding your skin. The shock and discomfort that follows will restrict sleep.
If anything, steadily reduce the temperature of your shower water at night. As with the morning, don’t just step straight into an icy stream of water that will leave you hopping and howling, but cool water can be surprisingly impactful at lulling us to sleep.
Why Do Cold Showers Make Me Tired?
Ice baths are popular with athletes. The European Journal of Sports Science explains why this is so. Immersion in cool water slows the heart rate once the initial reaction to the icy temperatures passes.
The same applies to a standard cool shower in the home. A cold shower will slowly and steadily prepare your body for sleep. It’s a survival instinct to seek the warmth of bed following such cold exposure, and you’ll quickly doze off once you do so.
What Shower Routine Will Make Me Sleepy?
Having established that showering before bed will aid a good night’s sleep, you may be considering a change in structure. Before doing so, be sure you understand some of the limitations of late-night showering.
If you decide that showering at night is for you, keep three more essential tips in mind. These will enable you to drift naturally toward a state of relaxation, which will become sleep in no time.
Moisturize the Skin
You’ll undoubtedly have heard about “beauty sleep” – the skin repairing itself while we doze overnight. This process will be assisted by bringing the appropriate lotions and potions into your bedtime shower routine.
If you use moisturizer, apply this when you get out of the shower while your skin is still soft. If your skin can tolerate scented or treated products, pick a cream that encourages sleep. Lavender aromas, for example, often help us fall into slumber.
Consider a facial moisturizer that absorbs sweat, too. While body temperature drops while we sleep, we still sweat. If your bedtime shower routine includes items to manage this issue, you’re likelier to sleep throughout the night and not wake in sweaty discomfort.
Keep Hair Dry
If you decide to shower in the evening, save any washing of your hair for the morning. Sleeping with wet hair is inadvisable, as this can damage the follicles. Drying it, meanwhile, will risk undoing all the benefits of showering at night.
In the unlikely event that your hair naturally dries within the 60-90 minutes between showering and bedtime, and it doesn’t need any treatment with appliances, you may get away with an evening shampoo.
The more you mess with hairdryers and curling irons, the more you’ll raise your temperature – and the ambient heat in a room – leading to disturbed sleep. This is why keeping your hair out of the water is best until the morning.
Relax After an Evening Shower
Strenuous activity mustn’t follow your evening shower. In an ideal world, following a nighttime shower, you’ll put on your favorite pajamas, slippers, and robe and settle down to read a good book before bed. You won’t need to climb straight into bed but try to minimize stimulation, including screen time.
Before you start running your evening shower, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you still have household chores, such as vacuuming or cleaning?
- Will you head outside to take out the garbage or something that’ll expose you to cold air?
- Are you expecting any phone calls or anything else to pull you out of a state of relaxation?
- Do you plan to do any work or watch a favorite TV show likely to elicit strong, emotional reactions?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, consider postponing your evening shower. The intention is to conclude your active day with this shower and prepare for a low-key end to the evening.
Showers alone won’t necessarily keep you awake or make you more sleepy, but it’s undeniable that you can use a shower to start or end your day. Whichever you choose, apply the appropriate routines.