Are the benefits of a shower greater before getting into bed or if we give it to ourselves during the previous one when going to work, very soon? The truth is that there is not enough scientific evidence for us to affirm categorically that one case is better than the opposite: for tastes, colors. However, today in Maldita Ciencia, for all the curious, who still want to know the points in favor of both situations, we tell you what we know about pre and/or post-bed showers.
For those who consider themselves of the “night” team, those who prefer to go well clean to sleep, a night shower can make us reconcile sleep earlier and that it is of higher quality. “It depends a lot on people but, in general, we believe that a warm shower (neither too hot nor too cold) before going to sleep, can favor having a body temperature that facilitates the onset of sleep.” Javier Puertas, vice president of the Spanish Sleep Society (SES), explains to Maldita Ciencia.
Puertas indicates that, although, as far as sleep is concerned, it is recommended that the bedroom is cool, being cold will make it difficult for us to sleep. “To sleep, it is advisable to have a little peripheral vasodilation. We achieve this when we have a little heat or we are at a comfortable temperature,” he adds.
That is, going to bed with a comforting body temperature will favor that small vasodilation before sleeping and, therefore, the possibility that we fall asleep earlier. It will also help us not to practice intense physical activities for at least two hours before going to bed, as well as try not to use electronic devices. “You have to disconnect physically, mentally, and emotionally,” recommends Puertas.
But we do not forget the equipment of the morning showers, because soaking before starting the day can also have certain positive repercussions (among them, waking up). Why? Because as Juan José Ortega, a specialist in clinical neurophysiology, explained to El País, a shower either cool or warm (between 24 ºC and 30 ºC) when we wake up contributes to reducing that period of drowsiness when getting out of bed. “The cooling of the limbs when waking up causes peripheral vasoconstriction and decreases sleep inertia, that is, the time it takes to fully recover from the hours of rest,” says Ortega.
But what about our skin? Do you appreciate the soak more or less depending on when we give it to us? “There is little scientific evidence on this. What we recommend, in general, is what is most pleasant for each person,” insists dermatology specialist Inés Escandell. “What is certain is that there are certain facial skin pathologies, such as acne or rosacea, in which it is essential to wash your face before going to sleep.” That is, either in the shower itself or in the sink, it is important to lie down with a clean face.
Escandell explains to Maldita Ciencia that this is due to the demodex folliculorum, tiny mites that live in our pores and hair follicles. “These tend to influence a lot in people who have skin problems because they move at night. Going to bed with a clean face reduces the risk of pustholous rosacea lesions because it decreases the load of demodex and we ensure that the pillowcase is not filled with microorganisms, “he adds. It also recommends the night shower and subsequent hydration to patients with atopy, over children patients with a lot of nocturnal itching, since it will be easier for them to sleep.
Science also doesn’t tell us when it’s “head shower” (nor that we can’t wash our hair daily). “There is nothing that makes it better to do it at night than in the morning: neither the accumulated fat (it does not matter if it accumulates at night than during the day) or that we go to sleep with somewhat wet hair,” David Sauceda, a member of the Spanish Trichology Group of the Spanish Association of Dermatology and Venerology (AEDV), tells Maldita Ciencia. “At the capillary level, I don’t know why one choice might be better than another,” he concludes.
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