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My personal experience is that a warm or hot shower can make me feel good, alert and energised. I've heard others having similar experiences, some mentioning cold shower as a good method to wake up.

By what mechanism does taking (a hot or cold) shower wake us up and "energise" us?

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The conductivity of water is higher than that of air - the medium that usually surrounds us. If you expose yourself to water (hot or cold) it will trigger impulses in neurons that are send to the brain for evaluation - this state of "alertness" is probably what you refer to as "energising". –  Stockfisch May 19 '13 at 21:07
    
Might have something to do with more psychological factors as well... –  Zewz May 21 '13 at 11:55
    
@boo2060: Do you mean that water on the skin makes nearby neurons send signals to the brain? Without the involvement of any receptors of the skin? –  winerd May 21 '13 at 15:42
    
@winerd No, I didn't mean to say that, sorry. Of course the receptor cells are involved. –  Stockfisch May 21 '13 at 16:12
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cold exposure activates the sympathetic system, so a cold shower may make you more alert. –  karpuz May 22 '13 at 18:40
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