The One Time of Day You Shouldn't Shower Right Now, Experts Say
You can take advantage of a little brain boost if you plan your day right.
A full year of life in a pandemic has forced many changes to our daily routines. This is especially true if you're now working from home instead of commuting into an office every day. But just because you've been able to swap your suits for sweatpants doesn't mean you don't have to keep up basic hygiene, just make sure you're not doing it at the wrong hour of the day.
Experts say that morning is the worst time to shower if you work from home, Well + Good reports. Read on to see why you should hold off on rinsing off in the a.m., and for more on other things to avoid while washing up, check out If You're Doing This in the Shower, Doctors Say to Stop Immediately.
Showering in the morning can rob you of potentially useful time.
Starting your day with a shower first thing in the morning can be a great way to feel revitalized and composed as you start your day, not to mention help you look your best. But when your office also happens to be the same place where you live, you could use the time in the morning to appreciate a healthy breakfast, exercise, or get organized for the day before you remotely clock in instead.
Instead, experts say that taking a midday shower can actually help give you a boost when you need it most by helping you shake off the onset of "brain fog" right at the time of day when you begin to lose focus. "The brain is a habit-making machine," Nan Wise, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist, told Well + Good. "So when we're in habits, when we're doing the same thing in the same way, it's really easy [for the brain] to go into automatic pilot." And for more ways to get out of your afternoon slump, This Is Exactly What You Should Do at 1 p.m. Every Day, Experts Say.
Rinsing off midday also gives you the chance to have "shower ideas."
It's not just the act of stepping away from your desk that can help get your brain back on track. Showering can help allow for uninterrupted spans of free-flowing thought—also known as the Zeigarnik effect—that clears your mind and jogs creativity.
"The relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment may afford creative thinking by allowing the mind to wander freely, and causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams," Ron Friedman, PhD, founder of Ignite80 and author of The Best Place to Work, said during a 2016 online summit (via Business Insider). "It's one of those few moments when we're not tied to our devices, so we have that extra space to find connections between ideas." And for more on things you should avoid while bathing, check out The One Body Part You Shouldn't Wash in the Shower, Doctors Say.
A midday shower can help you feel recharged and refreshed.
Besides the brain boost, allowing yourself to rinse off just before or after lunch can be a great way to break up the day and feel re-energized. "Showering midday is a little bit like taking a siesta," Chris Gayomali, articles editor for GQ, writes. "It's a respite. Something you can't ordinarily do in an office-office. The phase change recharges you—especially if you take a colder shower." And for more health and hygiene tips sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Showering at night might still be a better option than first thing in the morning.
Even if your work schedule doesn't allow for you to rinse off in the middle of the day, you still might be better off waiting to bathe. According to research published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews in 2019, taking a warm 10-minute shower an hour or two before hitting the sheets actually helps people fall asleep more easily.
"That rapid cooling after you get out of the shower or out of the bath tends to be a natural sleep inducer," Christopher Winter, MD, owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine clinic, told The Greatist. "So it's a nice way to fool your body into thinking it's time to go to bed." And for more on what you should be sure to do when you shower, check out These Are the Only 3 Body Parts You Need to Wash Every Day, Doctor Says.