by John Webber
Showering at night or before bed time can help you in adjusting your body to the new time zone you have just flown in – showering is all in the timing.
A hot morning shower can wake you up and even boost creativity, according to some research. But if you want to improve your sleep, showering at night is the way to go. Experts say there is evidence that a night shower can help you drift off – if you time it just right.
The main trick is to not start too late. “You do not want to heat yourself up right before bed,” says Dr. Dianne Augelli of the the Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. That is because body temperature plays an important part in regulating circadian rhythm, which tells the body when to feel sleepy or alert. During the day, body temperature naturally rises until the late afternoon, when it reverses and begins to fall. “Cooling down is a signal that tells us we are supposed to go to sleep,” she says, so interrupting this process can make it harder to fall asleep. When flying into a new country or time zone, always try to get as much sun or light as possible so that your body can adjust it’s inner daytime circadian clock; and when it gets dark into nighttime then time your shower right so you sleep at the normal local time.
Showering earlier in the evening also gives your body a chance to cool off and can even trigger sleep, says Shelby Harris, director of behavioral sleep medicine at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center. Several studies have shown that warming your body by taking a bath can help induce sleep when there is enough time to cool off afterward. While much of the research has focused on baths, a 20-minute shower would have similar effects too, Harris says.
Time your shower so you are done about an hour and a half before you want to hit the sack, Harris recommends. That way, by the time you lay down in bed, your body will be cool, dry and ready for sleep.
As a bonus, you can fold the very important step of washing your face into your nighttime shower. According to the National Sleep Foundation, cleansing before bed can help clear your skin and reduce breakouts, guard against wrinkles and help night creams and moisturizers work more effectively.
“Do not go where the path leads, travel instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” @wbbrjp