For most of my life I have taken showers first thing in the morning when I wake up. I always thought it was a good morning routine and a good way to wake me up in the morning. Even when I would workout later in the day, I would just shower a second time, because I needed my morning shower. Then, something changed. I don’t really know what, but all of a sudden, I decided to stop taking morning showers and now I either just take them after I workout, whenever that may be, or at night if it's a rest day. I do sometimes take morning showers on rest days, but it is now a rare sight.
I didn’t even realize I had made this transition until a couple days ago and it got me thinking--which is better, taking showers in the morning or the evening? So, I began researching it and found some interesting stuff. However, since “showers” is not one of the categories of my blog (only because it doesn’t start with “M”), I decided to expand the scheduling idea to include the best time of day to meditate as well. So, without further ado, here is should you do it in the Morning or the Evening: Showers and Meditation!
Okay, I may have misled you a little bit. There is not really a right or wrong answer to either of these. But I am, going to tell you the pros and cons of doing each activity in the morning versus the night and then you can make your own opinion from there!
The pros and cons of showering before and after you wake up are basically the inverse of one another. If you shower in the morning, right after you wake up, you’ll be able to clean off any sweat and oil from your sleep. However, that means you didn’t clean your body of all the dirt and grime it accumulated during the day before you went to sleep. If you shower at night, before you go to bed, you can clean yourself of all the daily dirt, but you will also just wake up oily and sweaty again (Schneider, 2020).
So, in terms of cleanliness there does not seem to be an obvious winner. However, when it comes to getting better sleep, taking a warm shower or bath of about 104-108.5 degrees Fahrenheit 1-2 hours before bed has been shown to improve self-reported sleep quality and sleep efficiency (Haghayegh et al., 2019). However, if you take this shower closer to bedtime than that 1-2 hours, it could actually interrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep (Abrams, 2017). So, make sure that if you are taking that evening shower, it is 1-2 hours before your head hits the pillow.
Morning showers, as soon as you wake up, on the other hand have been shown to boost creativity due to their meditative like effects and wake you up if you take a cold shower (Carter, 2021). So as always, it really just comes down to preferences. Or maybe, if you have the time, you could take a shower when you wake up in the morning and 1-2 hours before you go to bed in the evening. But be careful as that may not be so great of an idea for those with dry skin or eczema as frequent showers can dry your skin out even more according to the Baylor College of Medicine.
If you have read any of my other many meditation blog posts by now, you should know that one of the major benefits of meditation is relaxation. So, it would make sense that meditating before bed would help you relax and therefore help you sleep. I even wrote a blog post about that exact idea in the past! Well, it isn’t exactly as cut and dried as that. In said blog post, I wrote about a a study that showed that meditation was more successful at improving quality of sleep than simply learning about healthy sleeping habits (Black, 2015). However, it has been suggested that meditating midday, rather than right before bed, is more beneficial for your sleep (Corliss, 2021). It is proposed that some forms of meditation can actually awaken the mind and allow us to see more “clearly” resulting in us having a harder time falling asleep if performed right before bed (Sleep Advisor, 2021). However, personally I believe that if you are doing a mindfulness meditation where you are simply being one with yourself and focusing on the present moment, this should not make it any harder to fall asleep than before.
Besides potentially waking you up though, meditating when you get up in the morning has many additional benefits. On top of the general idea that having a morning routine is a healthy way to start a productive day, meditation can also help further boost productivity, reduce stress, and improve overall mood (Shah, 2020). I don’t know about you guys but as soon as I wake up, I am hit with a wall of anxiety, worrying about all the tasks I have to get done that day and how I will get them all done. Meditating can help stop those thoughts and anxieties, lower heart rate and blood pressure (Penn Medicine, 2020) and help you start your day more relaxed and focused.
So again, when it comes to deciding whether or not to meditate in the morning or evening, it depends on your goals. If you are looking for better sleep, a mindfulness meditation midday or before bed that doesn’t focus on awakening the mind can help. And if you are looking to start your day off calm and focused, meditating in the morning can definitely help. And again, if you have the time, why not do both?
For me personally, I think I will stick to my evening showers for now. I could definitely use the better sleep quality and I already drink enough caffeine in the morning to kill a small bear so I don’t think I need any more help waking up. And when it comes to meditation, I think I may try that ole morning routine thing. Maybe I’ll throw in a couple minutes of yoga too, buuuut that does mean waking up earlier…
Abrams, Abigail. “How A Night Shower Improves Your Sleep.” Time, Time, 21 Feb. 2017, https://time.com/4665489/hot-shower-before-bed/.
Black, David S., et al. “Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances.” JAMA Internal Medicine, vol. 175, no. 4, 2015, p. 494., doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081.
Carter, Louise. “Do Showers Make You Sleepy or Keep You Awake?” Sleep Bubble, 26 July 2021, https://www.sleepbubble.com/do-showers-make-you-sleepy/.
Corliss, Julie.“Mindfulness Meditation Helps Fight Insomnia, Improves Sleep.” Harvard Health, 15 June 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726.
Haghayegh, Shahab, et al.“Before-Bedtime Passive Body Heating by Warm Shower or Bath to Improve Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Sleep Medicine Reviews, vol. 46,2019, pp. 124–135., https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2019.04.008.
“Hot Showers Can Damage Skin during Winter.” Baylor College of Medicine, 2018, https://www.bcm.edu/news/hot-showers-can-damage-skin-winter.
Penn Medicine. “3 Ways Meditation Can Help Your Heart, Body and Mind.” Penn Medicine, 3 Apr.2020, https://www.pennmedicine.org/ updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/april/ 3-ways-meditation-can-help-your-heart-body-and-mind.
Schneider, Jamie. “Should You Shower in the Morning or at Night? Pros, Cons & Final Verdict.” Mindbodygreen, Mindbodygreen, 12 Aug. 2020, https://www.mindbodygreen.com/ articles /is-it-better-to-shower-in- morning-or-night-pros-cons-and-verdict.
Shah, Sara. “Morning Meditation: The Amazing Health Benefits, How to Get Started, and Tips for Sticking with It - Even If You're Not a Morning Person.” Insider, Insider, 9 Oct. 2020, https://www.insider.com/morning-meditation.
Sleep Advisor. “Should You Meditate before You Sleep? - The Pros & Cons Explained.” Sleep Advisor, 9 Oct. 2021, https://www.sleepadvisor.org/meditate-before-sleep/.
A special thank you to all my friends and family who have not only supported me on my journey but have helped along the way. None of this would be possible without them. Remember to take time to appreciate those in your lives!
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