Why do showers wake you up? Actually, they may not. The time and temperature of your shower will impact your wakefulness differently. If you have a hot shower in the morning, the chances are that the shower itself is not waking you up but that you’re just slowly waking while in the shower. The water has very little to do with it–in fact, it may even make you more sleepy. Here’s what you need to know to adjust your shower to help you wake up or understand why your current shower routine does wake you up.
Hot Showers in the Morning
Hot showers may be comforting in the morning, but they are likely also interfering with your ability to wake up. The warm water releases muscle tension and makes you more comfortable, but this makes you sleepy, not wakeful.
Further, when you have a warm shower, your temperature rises, but then it drops once you’re done. Any dramatic drop in temperature is a signal for your body to go to sleep, and the drop post-shower is no different. This reaction will take place about twenty minutes after you’ve stopped showering and likely before your coffee kicks in, creating the perfect conditions to tempt you back to bed or just make you feel groggy for your morning drive.
Hot Showers at Night
If you love hot showers and have no intention of trying cold showers, you can still use your showering habits to help you feel more alert in the morning. Taking a hot shower about a half hour before you want to go to bed can help you fall asleep faster. That same drop in body temperature will trigger sleepiness and can help you handle insomnia. With a better night’s sleep, and no need to shower in the morning, you may feel more alert in the morning.
Cold Showers in the Morning
You can use your morning shower to wake yourself up if you’re willing to turn the temperature down. We know, when you roll out of bed in the morning, a cold shower sounds quite unpleasant. But, once it becomes a part of your routine, you may find that you crave the refreshing feeling of cold water in the morning.
You might wonder, though, if a hot shower undermines your wakefulness because it makes your temperature drop, then how is a cold shower any better? The water in a cold shower is colder than your body would get after a hot shower, and the cold water affects your body very differently.
Cold showers increase your body’s circulation and your oxygen intake, waking up your whole body. It may also increase your metabolism and your heart rate, a sure sign for the rest of your body to wake up. While cold water may be shocking at first, it actually reduces your stress hormones. You’ll feel awake but not on edge once you get used to a cold shower in the morning.
Cold showers also have the benefits of not stripping your skin and hair of as much moisture as hot showers do. Overall, they are the best choice for your morning routine.