You have had a long day filled with activities. From attending classes to departmental meetings and a few other extracurricular activities, you get back to your room and you literally “drop” on the bed from exhaustion.
Then you remember that you have not yet had dinner, and you need to study. You quickly prepare a quick dinner and relax a little bit. Then you begin to feel drowsy but you know that you have to study. Now, you feel like a shower will make you stay awake enough to study, but you normally shower just before going to bed. And maybe that’s when it hit you; “Is it better to shower before or after studying?”
There are cognitive benefits of taking a shower especially when you are tired and there are equal benefits of taking either a hot or cold shower due to the increase of blood circulation and stimulation of hormones like serotonin.
For some other people, it is a question that has become a part of their routine, because they have noticed a flaw in one and an inconvenience in another. But this post will attempt a careful analysis of both options and arrive at a practical answer whether or not you should shower before studying.
Does taking a shower improve mental performance?
Have you noticed that after you take a shower, you feel energized? I have friends who tell me that showers have the same effect that tea or coffee has on them. This could directly mean that taking a shower has some health benefits, including mentally. Research has shown that taking hot baths (up to a temperature of 40°C) has soothing effects on the body, alters moods and prevents depression. Hot baths also influence the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.
Cold showers, on the other hand, also has benefits on the overall health of an individual especially mental health. If you are having a long day, you most likely would be stressed (with increased cortisol levels in the blood) and tired. At this point, all the brain is concerned about is how to reduce stress. And as stress leads to fatigue, you will most likely feel physically tired as well. Another thing is that stress produces anxiety. All of these can be reduced with a cold shower.
Research has shown that cortisol levels in the blood and saliva significantly reduce during a cold shower, thereby easing stress and anxiety. Although there has not been any significant direct link between showers (both hot and cold) on mental performance, there are a number of studies that show that taking showers frequently have a positive effect on physical and mental health. Parameters that were used to measure this effect include pain, fatigue, skin condition, stress and self-reported health. All of these parameters where shown to have significant impact on the participants’ health.
Another way cold showers improve mental performance can be seen in the use of glucose. The brain uses glucose for its major cognitive and mental functions. When the body is stressed, its temperature increases. This increase in temperature breaks down glucose, thus reducing the amount of glucose the brain needs for mental performance. However, a cold shower can help reduce body temperature, helping the brain function at an optimal pace. This is why a cold shower makes you feel energized, with a clearer mind.
Again, studies have shown that hot showers stimulate the production of a protein called Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF improves the neuroplasticity of the brain, helping the brain in memory as well as processing of information, mood and behaviors, etc. BDNF makes it easier for the brain to process and store information and improve mental performance. However, to stimulate this adequately it would be better to use a sauna.
Should you take a hot or cold shower?
Before you can answer this question, you will need to understand the benefits of both hot and cold showers as well as their differences. First, I need to point out that hot shower temperatures are typically between 96F-104F (36°-40°C) while cold shower temperatures are usually between 57F-60F (14°-16°C) or less.
Benefits of hot showers include;
Hot showers ease tension in the muscles of the body, making you relax. This can also make you feel tired, thus helping you sleep better.
Nasal and respiratory relief
Remember how you are sometimes advised to carry out steam inhalation to clear stuffy nose? The effect is the same when you have a hot shower. The steam basically clears the nasal passage. The temperature from the shower also helps the chest cavity as you bath, helping you breathe easier.
Hot showers stimulate the blood and improve its circulation all over the body. This has a lot of other benefits as nerve endings are also stimulated which helps reduce pain in certain areas of the body like the joint.
Hot showers also help you have a clear skin because it unclogs pores and removes dirt from the skin. This improves the overall health of the skin.
Benefits of cold showers;
Cold showers make you alert and keep you energized. How does this happen? When cold water touches your skin, the difference in temperature sends a shock stimulus through your body to the brain. This increases your heart rate and uptake of oxygen, making you feel “pumped”.
Due to the increase in heart rate caused by cold showers, blood is pumped throughout the body at a faster rate as well in order to reduce the body temperature to match the temperature of the shower and create a homeostatic balance.
Cold showers ease pain in sore muscles, making them relax. Also, the blood that is circulated throughout the body during a cold shower helps to prevent pain and inflammation of the muscles.
Cold showers have been shown to cause weight loss. Cold showers stimulate cells in the adipose tissues that break down fat to produce heat. This fat breakdown leads to weight loss.
Skin and Hair
Cold showers help your skin and hair retain its oils by closing the pores during a cold shower. Another way cold showers help the skin is that they help in preventing itches caused by certain skin conditions.
There are also disadvantages of hot and cold showers. For instance, hot showers can strip your skin and hair of its natural oils, making it dry out easily. This can cause an increase in certain skin diseases like eczema. Hot showers also increase blood pressure, which can be detrimental to those who have high blood pressure. Cold showers, on the other hand, can affect your immune system. If you have a cold and you take a cold shower, you will most likely feel worse than better.
However, the decision on whether to take a cold or hot shower depends on you as well as external conditions like weather. For example, it would be highly detrimental to your health if you take a cold shower in winter. However, cold showers would be ideal if you just finished a workout or during summer. Also, it is not advisable to take hot showers if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure.
Will a shower help keep you awake?
Yes, a shower will help keep you awake. This is due to a number of reasons. First, the temperature of the water (whether hot or cold) is different from your body temperature and this will send a shock stimulus (especially with cold showers) to the nerve endings located on the skin.
This stimulus jolts your body into a wakeful state. Cold showers also help bring your body temperature to normal, sending a signal to your body to start its metabolism processes. This will also keep you awake.
Another way a shower will help you stay awake is with the power of sights and sounds. Many times, the bright lights and colorful tiles on the walls of your bathroom can help in keeping you awake. If that does not work, then the sound of rushing water and the frequency at which it pours will also make you open your eyes faster! This is why it is a good idea to take a shower whenever you feel sleepy.
Scottish Shower Technique / Sports recovery shower technique
This technique is also infamous among training athletes as it helps flush out toxins and lactic acid in your muscles and aids in recovery. This is because of the constant change in temperatures forces the blood to constrict and relax.
If all of these mentioned above do not work, then the Scottish Shower technique will help in keeping you awake. The Scottish Shower is a shower technique that involves alternating the temperature of the water for 30 seconds as you bath. It usually involves starting with a hot shower, and ending with a cold shower. This altering of temperature during the shower harnesses all the advantages of both showers; and it will definitely keep you awake.
Why you should create an after-school routine
You might think that having a routine might bore your brain and make you feel old; but this is not true. In fact, creating a routine makes the brain function better. This is because the brain has already been programmed into carrying out certain functions, so breaking that routine might create a “freeze” which can muddle up your thoughts. If the break in routine is sudden, this effect is worse as the brain produces adrenaline in a “fight or flight” mode which can unsettle the system for a while.
Another advantage to creating an after-school routine is that your brain becomes unconsciously good at activities that have been ingrained. Let me give an example. If you sleep at a certain time (say, 10pm) for a number of weeks; it would be difficult for you to sleep earlier than that time unless you are ill. This is why it is important to create an after-school routine.
As important as it is to create an after-school routine, also ensure that you incorporate healthy habits into your routine. For example, ensure that you eat healthy, exercise and rest after school activities. Another good habit to incorporate into your after-school routine is study. Ensure that you study for at least one hour each day. Soon, you will automatically want to study at a certain time.
In conclusion, you can either shower before or after studying. As both can provide benefits.
You can shower before studying if you feel sleepy; if not, you can shower after studying, in readiness for bed.
Best thing to do would for you to trial a hot shower before studying and see how you go, if you don’t feel any more focused try a cold one. But if you find that taking a shower before studying leaves you less focused and sleepier you should aim for a hot or cold shower after studying and then having a relaxing nights rest to help recover your brain
Weigh the pros and cons, and choose which one is most suitable for you.
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In fact, a recent study revealed that 72% of respondents believed that Shower Time was prime Thinking Time. That may seem counterintuitive, given that you're more focussed on soaping up that hard-to-reach spot under your shoulders than working out strategy for your critical project, but science backs you up.Is it better to take a shower before or after studying? ›
Regularly showering before you start studying will allow you to get into the zone before you start. This is because it's actually a good idea for a pre-study ritual. A pre-study ritual like showering will allow you to stop looking at your phone or computer for a bit and allow you to be present.Can taking a shower help you focus? ›
Cold showers in the morning, on the other hand, will wake you up and have you feeling more alert and focused throughout the day. Cold showers increase the hormone norepinephrine which gets released into the brain where it functions as a boost to your energy, alertness and concentration.How can I study in the shower? ›
Study for finals in the shower. Turn a ziplock bag upside down (so it drains if it gets damp), insert sheet to study, attach to shower wall-voila! You can even use bath crayons to quiz yourself and rinse off!Should I shower the morning of a test? ›
Make sure you take a shower.
You want to be clean, fresh, and happy when you walk into your exam. Countless studies have shown that people who shower in the morning are more productive, more alert, happier, and less stressed.
Studies show that drinking water prior to an exam may increase your academic performance. Your brain is roughly 75% water and when it's functioning on a “full tank”, you will be able to think more clearly, increase your ability to focus, and experience greater clarity and creativity.Do I study better at night or morning? ›
* Study with the sun: Traditionally, the morning hours are believed to be the time when our mind is fresh and alert. “Our mind is fresh and our short-term memory strong in the mornings,” says Dr Kharkate. There's also a belief that sunlight helps the mind stay more alert as compared to darkness.How can I refresh my mind for studying? ›
- Fit in some exercise a few times a week. ...
- Get creative. ...
- Stock up on your vitamins and micronutrients. ...
- Socialize. ...
- Allow yourself to power nap. ...
- Break out of your daily routine. ...
- Try something new.
Poor hygiene or infrequent showers can cause a buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat on your skin. This can trigger acne, and possibly exacerbate conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Showering too little can also trigger an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on your skin.Does showering help with brain fog? ›
If you are experiencing brain fog or feeling short of ideas and motivation, taking shower during the midday can help. Taking shower midday can help you combat laziness and start afresh.
Cold showers wake your body up, inducing a higher state of alertness. The cold also stimulates you to take deeper breaths, decreasing the level of CO2 throughout the body, helping you concentrate. Cold showers thus keep you ready and focused throughout the day.How long should you shower in college? ›
15 minutes is the maximum amount of reasonable time you should take in the shower. Wear slip on, waterproof shoes. Crocs are great for this as are flip flops. Unfortunately, communal showers may also mean communal foot fungus, so protect your feet.What age do you learn to shower? ›
There's no magic number for when the shower stage should begin, but a good rule of thumb is age six to seven, says Dr. Shook. At that point, kiddos are in early elementary school and should be interested in showering on their own and understanding how to cleanse their entire body by themselves.How often should a college student shower? ›
While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often). Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.When should you stop studying for an exam? ›
Know when to stop studying.
"Within 12 to 24 hours of the test, it's time to stop studying," says Gruenwald. "You're not going to learn a lot of new content. The likelihood is much higher that you're going to stress yourself out and confuse yourself. For the last-minute studier, flashcards can be a good resource.
One of the most impactful learning strategies is “distributed practice”—spacing out your studying over several short periods of time over several days and weeks (Newport, 2007). The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day.What drink helps you study? ›
Drink tea or coffee instead. I got really into green tea during A Levels. It's a great alternative to high-caffeine drinks but still boosts your concentration, and it's packed with antioxidants too. Bananas and chocolate are fantastic sources of energy as well.Does water make you think faster? ›
Staying hydrated has been linked to: Better concentration and enhanced short-term memory. Higher test scores in an educational context. Improved focus and decreased mental fatigue – this is especially important when running!What time of day is your brain sharpest? ›
That said, science has indicated that learning is most effective between 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 10 pm, when the brain is in an acquisition mode. On the other hand, the least effective learning time is between 4 am and 7 am.What is the best hour to study? ›
Best time to study according to science
According to science, there are two windows of time the brain is most receptive to new material: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Studying for 3 to 4 hours a day is the best number as it is realistic without being too small to actually get the work done. It has also been shown that this period of time allows your brain to work at full capacity without burning it out.How do I stop brain fog while studying? ›
- Spend less time on computer and mobile phone – remind yourself to take a break.
- Positive thinking, reduce stress.
- Change your diet.
- Get enough sleep – 7-8 hours a day, go to bed at 10pm or no later than midnight.
- Regular exercise.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drinking coffee in the afternoon.
- Meditate. ...
- Regularly exercise. ...
- Write. ...
- Listen to some Mozart. ...
- Laugh. ...
- A healthy diet. ...
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Read more. ...
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. ...
- Start exercising daily. ...
- Learn a new language. ...
- Look for learning opportunities. ...
- Lower your screen time. ...
- Practice meditation. ...
- Explore video games.
- Practice mindfulness. ...
- Destroy the distractions. ...
- If you don't snooze, you lose. ...
- A fit body helps a fit mind. ...
- Treat yo'self (to something healthy, of course) ...
- Pretty up the place. ...
- Don't be too hard on yourself!
“Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “When you wake up in the morning, there's all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that's just kind of sitting there on your skin.” So take a quick shower in the morning, he said, “to wash all of that gunk and sweat off that you've been sleeping in all night.”How can I get fresh before studying? ›
- Use light.
- Sit up.
- Avoid your bedroom.
- Eat well.
- Use active techniques.
- Be social.
Cold showers can help wake you up and increase your mental alertness, making you feel more energised throughout the day. If you're struggling with morning fatigue or need an energy boost to begin your day, a cold shower may be just what you need.How can I concentrate on studies without being tired? ›
- Get out of your comfort zone. ...
- Watch your posture. ...
- Create a study strategy. ...
- Stay hydrated. ...
- Eat the right foods. ...
- Use active learning methods. ...
- Switch tasks periodically. ...
- Move your body.
- Find a suitable environment.
- Create a study ritual.
- Block distracting websites + apps on your phone, tablet, and computer.
- Divide up + space out study sessions.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique.
- Find the best tools.
- Focus on skills, not grades.
- Schedule downtime.
- Remove distractions.
- Drink coffee.
- Take breaks.
- Avoid social media.
- Stay fueled.
- Prioritize sleep.
- Set goals.
- Be mindful.
Tweens and teens: Guidelines for bathing
Thankfully, most kids want to bathe daily once they hit puberty. Dermatologists tell parents that once puberty starts, kids should: Shower or take a bath daily. Wash their face twice a day to remove oil and dirt.
Edidiong Kaminska, MD, the recommended maximum shower time is about 5 to 10 minutes. This is enough time to cleanse and hydrate the skin without overdoing it. “Our skin needs water, just like our bodies, but if we over- or under-do it, then it may have consequences,” she adds.What time of day is healthiest to shower? ›
Benefits of Showering in the Morning
Another benefit to morning showers is that you cleanse yourself of any night bacteria. Research shows that humans tend to sweat more at night than in the morning. A quick morning shower can help you feel less sweaty.
Most people recommend studying for 3 to 4 hours every day on a set schedule that allows your brain to work at its full capacity. You should avoid studying for more than five or six hours as this can lead to burnout and cause you to lose the information that you have learned.What is the best studying method? ›
One of the most impactful learning strategies is “distributed practice”—spacing out your studying over several short periods of time over several days and weeks (Newport, 2007). The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day.What does a 5 minute cold shower do? ›
Going from a hot to cold shower — even for a couple of minutes — might protect you from circulating viruses. The shock of cold water can stimulate the blood cells that fight off infection (leukocytes).Do cold showers change your brain? ›
The cold water sends many electrical impulses to your brain. They jolt your system to increase alertness, clarity, and energy levels. Endorphins, which are sometimes called happiness hormones, are also released. This effect leads to feelings of well-being and optimism.