Advertisement

Morning body mysteries

Morning body mysteries
Getty Images

The human body is quite amazing, and even though it’s powerful and strong it can also be, well, kind of gross. Here are some somewhat unsavoury but totally normal things the human body does in the morning – and why.

Morning breath

Morning breath
Shutterstock

Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. “What’s known as ‘morning breath’ is caused by microbes that interact with the proteins in saliva which result in the production of volatile sulphur compounds that smell bad,” says Dr Albert Wu, a public health expert. Blame the “decreased production of saliva, which occurs when we are sleeping.” Among the factors that can exacerbate the problem: “Breathing through your mouth, which causes dryness, cavities, gum disease and tobacco,” adds Dr Wu. Good oral hygiene is key, especially before bed.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth
Shutterstock

Do you often wake up feeling parched even though you drank more than enough water the day before? When we sleep, we don’t produce as much saliva in our mouths, so we naturally wake up with a drier mouth than we went to sleep with, explains Dr Gina Sam, a gastroenterologist.

Although this sleep side effect is perfectly normal, you can try to avoid it by not using mouthwash containing alcohol, which can dry out your mouth. Also, keeping a glass of water nearby for when you wake up with dry mouth can provide some relief.

Gas

Gas
Shutterstock

When you’re sleeping, your energy production is reduced, which means your body is able to attend to other tasks, like digestion.

“Lying down allows the intestinal gas that’s produced all the time to pool in the large intestine,” says Dr Wu. “It is then released all at once when you change position, while getting up the result can be morning flatulence or ‘the wake-up farts.’”

Puffy eyes

Puffy eyes
Getty Images

You may not realise it but every time you blink, you’re helping flush out the excess mucus and irritants from your eyes. When you’re sleeping, that doesn’t happen.

“During sleep when the eyes are kept shut, the film of tears that covers the eyes stagnate and change in composition,” says Dr Wu. “More white blood cells are recruited, along with other inflammatory factors. This leads to more blood flow, redness, and even a pus-like discharge first thing in the morning.”

While some puffiness is normal, excess salt and caffeine, not enough water, and being stressed can exacerbate the problem. Try splashing cold water on your face first thing in the morning to reduce the swelling.

Body odour

Body odour
Shutterstock

Despite your best efforts and religious application of deodorant, it’s perfectly normal to wake up smelly, especially in the underarm area. “This can be the result of bacteria on the skin and perspiration caused by elevated body temperature due to an overly warm room or too many blankets,” says Dr Wu. “It can also be caused by diseases or conditions like hyperthyroidism or hypoglycemia.”

Drinking plenty of water and eating a whole-food, plant-based diet can dramatically reduce morning body odour.

Check out how 10 body parts got their names.

Advertisement

Dark urine

Dark urine
Shutterstock

Despite your level of hydration, you probably wake up with darker-than-normal wee. This is because your kidneys have been at rest (so to speak) for so long, according to Dr Sam. The kidney output slows down at night and you produce less urine.

“Your kidneys are part of the renal system, or urinary tract, along with the ureters, bladder and the urethra, so if they are resting, your urine is concentrated, and therefore darker in colour,” she explains.

Large bowel movements

Large bowel movements
Shutterstock

If your morning poops scale on the large side, it’s due to all that digesting your body was doing while you were in REM sleep.

“The contractions in the colon are highest in the morning, and this is when most people have a large bowel movement to get rid of the stool from digested food overnight,” says Dr Sam.

Read about the 10 things that happen to your body when you stop eating sugar.

Cracked corners of the mouth

Cracked corners of the mouth
Shutterstock

Waking up with sore, cracked sides of the mouth not only is common but also can be rather uncomfortable if it happens nearly every morning.

“When you sleep, saliva builds up at the corners of the mouth and can start to break down this delicate skin,” says dermatologist Erum Ilyas. “If this goes on long enough, a yeast infection can develop called perleche.”

If you are a mouth breather or have a cold, she recommends applying Vaseline or Aquaphor to the corners of your mouth before bedtime. This can serve as a barrier to protect your skin from breaking down and getting irritated.

Eye boogers

Eye boogers
Shutterstock

Waking up and having to clean out your eyes is part of most of our morning routines. Some call it “getting the sleep out of your eyes.” It’s perfectly normal, but definitely a pesky task.

“Sometimes an accumulation of tears, mucus, and dead skin cells can build up along the eyelids and make them feel ‘crusty’ in the morning,” Dr Ilyas explains. “Washing your face with a gentle cleanser or Johnson’s No More Tears Baby Shampoo can help remove this.”

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us:

Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team