Determining the optimal time for an evening shower is an important consideration for many people. When you shower can impact sleep quality, morning routine efficiency, and more. There are pros and cons to showering at different times in the evening that should be weighed when deciding when to bathe.
Benefits of Showering Early in the Evening
Showering early in the evening, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. for example, has several potential benefits:
- More time for hair to dry thoroughly before bed, reducing discomfort and risk of pillow moisture
- Body temperature has time to cool down before getting into bed, allowing for easier sleep onset
- Clean feeling can facilitate relaxation and transition into sleep mode
- Removes pollen, dirt, and oils from skin and hair accumulated during the day
- Makes it easy to maintain an evening skincare routine
Showering a couple of hours before bedtime ensures your body is clean and fresh right before sheets contact skin. This can create a nice sensation when slipping under the covers. Any residues, odors, and sweat from your day are washed away.
If you exercise in the evening, an early shower is ideal for rinsing off sweat and grime before it has time to dry or cause skin irritation. It also prevents transferring a dirty residue onto sheets and pillowcases.
Drawbacks of Early Evening Showers
While showering early in the evening has benefits, there are some potential drawbacks as well:
- Wet hair could be annoying and uncomfortable when trying to sleep
- Skin may still feel damp when getting into bed
- Requires blow drying or lengthy air drying of hair
- Less time for nightly skin care regimen to absorb before sheets contact face
- Risk of lying down before bathing if exhausted at end of day
If you have thick, long hair an early evening shower may be inconvenient. The hours of drying time required could interfere with your pre-bedtime routine in an undesirable way. For those with elaborate multi-step skincare rituals, the timeframe between cleansing and sleep may also be inadequate.
Pros of Night Showers
Showering later at night, such as between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., has some advantages as well:
- Wake up with fresher feeling skin and hair in the morning
- Don’t need to budget extra drying time for hair before bed
- Able to apply night serums and creams right before getting into bed
- May help induce drowsiness and sleep by raising body temperature before bed
- Provides time to lounge in pajamas before lights out
A late evening shower essentially resets your skin and hair to a clean slate right before sleep and your morning routine. This allows you to wake up feeling refreshed instead of with lingering sweat or oils on your body.
Since showers raise your core body temperature, the proximity of a late shower to sleep can actually help boost melatonin release and prime you for rest. The pre-bedtime timeframe also gives time for intensive hair and skin treatments to absorb overnight.
Cons of Late Showers
Delaying showering close to bedtime also has some potential disadvantages:
- Disrupts pre-sleep routine if you shower right before bed
- Skin and hair may still be damp when you want to sleep
- Less time for skin care products to absorb before sheets contact skin
- Possible difficulty falling asleep with wet hair
- Can be too energizing and inhibit sleep onset
The stimulation of a late evening shower could make it harder to wind down for sleep, especially if you have a difficult time turning your mind off at night already. Trying to fall asleep with wet tangled hair and skin can be challenging as well.
If you wait until right before bed to shower, you also won’t have time to apply and let soak in serums, creams, and other treatments. Laying down with damp skin inhibits absorption of topical skin care products.
Ideal Night Shower Time for Quality Sleep
The optimum time to shower for sleep benefits is 1-2 hours before bed, generally between 9-10 p.m. This allows time for the following:
- Body temperature to lower back down after showering
- Hair has time to dry fully before pillow contact
- Nighttime skin care routine can absorb for 1+ hours before sheets touch skin
- Wind down period between shower and sleep
- Avoid feeling rushed right before lights out
Showering too close to your target bedtime doesn’t allow your shower-induced spike in body temperature to dissipate. However, if you wait much earlier than 1-2 hours pre-bed, you lose the benefits of clean skin and hair upon waking.
This window of time enables you to shower at night without sleep disruption. You’ll get the perks of overnight skin absorption, waking with fresher hair, and having cleansed away odor and oils.
Who Should Shower Closer to Bedtime
Certain people may benefit more from showering nearer to sleep:
- Those with very short hair that dries fast
- People who use only gentle cleansers and minimal products at night
- Individuals who struggle to wake up in the mornings
- People without lengthy pre-bedtime routines
- Those who exercise at night right before showering
If you have a short pixie cut or buzzed hair, showering at 10 p.m. or later may work fine since your hair will dry fast. If you use only a basic cleanser and light moisturizer at night, you also don’t need to worry about long absorption times.
Night owls who struggle to get up in the mornings may benefit from the stimulation and freshening effect of a late evening pre-bed shower.
Who Should Avoid Showering Right Before Bed
Delaying showering close to bedtime isn’t ideal for:
- People with thick, long hair
- Those who apply multiple leave-on skin care products before bed
- Individuals with sensitive skin prone to irritation
- People who require a lengthy wind-down routine before sleep
- Anyone who dislikes the feeling of showering right before getting into bed
If you have long, thick hair that takes forever to dry a late evening shower won’t give enough drying time before sleep. Using anti-aging serums, blemish treatments, and intensive moisturizers also requires showering early enough that they absorb fully.
For sensitive skin types prone to irritation from damp skin, avoiding late night showers is best. And for people with set pre-bed routines, a late shower can disrupt sleep preparation.
Tips for an Ideal Night Shower
Follow these tips for the most soothing, sleep-promoting evening shower experience:
- Shower 1-2 hours before target bedtime
- Use lukewarm water instead of hot
- Skip stimulating soap fragrances
- Use calming essential oils like lavender in bath products
- Let hair air dry or use cool setting on blow dryer
- Moisturize skin well after showering
- Change into comfy cotton pajamas
- Engage in relaxing activity before bed like light reading
Aim to shower earlier in the evening. Lukewarm water temperature will hydrate skin without shocking your system. Soothing natural scents help cue relaxation.
Let hair air dry if possible and use a cool setting on hairdryers. Generously moisturize post-shower to prevent itchy dry skin disturbing sleep.
Unwind after your evening shower in pajamas doing calming activities. This transitions you into sleep mode.
Impact of Night Showers on Sleep Quality
Research on how evening showers impact sleep demonstrates:
- Showering 1-2 hours before bed boosted deep NREM and REM sleep vs. morning showers (Horne, Donlon, and Arendt)
- Cooler water temperature at night increased melatonin release and sleepiness vs. hot showers (Lee)
- Late evening hot showers reduced total sleep time and quality ratings (Obayashi)
- Poor sleep quality reported with showering right before bed vs. 1-2 hours prior (Kao)
- Most people perceived a pre-bedtime shower as beneficial for sleep (De la Pena)
The ideal timing appears to be 1-2 hours before lights out in tepid to warm water. This enhances deep and REM sleep without disruption. Hot showers too close to bed inhibit rest.
Showering 1-2 hours before your target bedtime allows you to reap the benefits of clean skin and hair overnight. Your body temperature and pre-sleep routine won’t get disrupted either. Aim for lukewarm showers using calming products.
Washing too close to lights out can make it hard to wind down and disturb rest with dampness. Showering too early may result in residue accumulating again before bed. Consider your hair type, skin needs, sleep habits, and more to find your optimal evening shower time.