The time of day you choose to shower may have a lot more to do with your work and gym schedule than health concerns. For some of us, waking up in the morning and jumping straight into a hot, steamy shower is invigorating and sets the right tone for the rest of the day. But we may be neglecting an important fact: Our long days spent commuting, breathing in and absorbing pollutants, and even willingly using products that make us pretty but can affect our health and our partner’s health are all reasons why experts say nighttime is the right time to take a shower.
“I am a double board-certified MD, and I tell people to shower before bed, especially if they have asthma, allergies or skin rashes,” says Dr. Amy Shah.
As we go about our business during the day, common pollutants and chemicals find a home on our skin and hair. Allergens such as pollen, black carbon, dust mites (bugs that live in dust), cleaning solution chemicals from your detergent, carpets and blinds (which emit the toxic gas formaldehyde), and even furniture cleaners are all culprits, Shah says. So guess what happens when you neglect to remove them before bedtime?
“The pollen, dust and pollution in your hair and skin can seriously irritate allergies and asthma,” Shah says. And you’re not the only one you’re putting in harm’s way. “Whatever you carry on your body — fragrance, toxins, allergens — can adversely affect your partner, especially if they have allergies or asthma.”
Oftentimes while washing our faces and prepping for bed, we forget all of the lotions, perfumes and chemicals we applied to our skin that morning. Those products don’t just vanish. Without proper cleansing, cosmetics and dirt can seep into your skin while you’re sleeping and exacerbate skin rashes and acne, Shah says. The best cleanser to use is one that is fragrance- and chemical-free, such as Dove or Cetaphil.
If you need more reasons why showering before bed is ideal, aside from the fact that you’ll have oodles more time in the morning to actually sit and enjoy breakfast and coffee, here’s a great one: A warm shower will instantly relax you, soothe aching muscles and get your body programmed to drift off into a peaceful slumber. And if you happen to be a fan of sex before bedtime, well, your partner probably won’t complain when you come to bed every night smelling like a fresh field of flowers.