The Science Behind Your Morning Trip to the Loo

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Morning chores. Daily constitutional. Whatever you call it, many of us head to the bathroom to take care of it first thing in the morning (or at least, after your morning coffee).

And it turns out there’s a reason that many of us get the urge at the start of the day – it’s science.

According to gastroenterologist Dr. Sarina Psricha, morning is the best time to have a bowel movement because it’s the time of day when your body is best equipped to evacuate.

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“In the morning, when we first wake up, an internal alarm clock goes off in our colon, and the colon starts contracting more vigorously. In fact, the colon contracts and squeezes three times as hard in the first hour we are awake compared to when we are sleeping.”

Your small intestine and colon work to process any food leftover from the day before as you sleep, and that’s why the urge sets in about 30 minutes after you wake up. Add in stretching, having a drink of water or coffee, and voila – bowel movement!

“Drinking early morning coffee works synergistically with gut motility to create healthy bowel movements.”

If you’re not a coffee person, try warm saltwater with lemon if you’re having trouble getting things moving.

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If you find yourself wondering if your bowel movements are normal, and the good news is that, even if you don’t head to the pot first thing in the morning, there’s probably nothing to worry about. There’s a large range of what is considered “normal”: anywhere from three times a week to three times a day. Plus, factors like diet, exercise, and travel can alter your regular schedule.

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“Typically, the best time of the day to have a bowel movement is in the morning. However, some people may not have morning bowel movements and this does not necessarily mean there are any issues. It is okay not to have morning bowel movements as long as people are having regular daily bowel movements.”

There it is – all you ever wanted to know about your morning dump (and probably a whole lot more).