Waking up in the morning is a pretty private thing, sometimes done around another person, but generally a space for you and your body to get back on track, even if that means doing some "gross" stuff for a little bit. It turns out, though, that the gross things bodies do in the morning are often signs of good physical health.
"During the first 30 minutes that you’re awake, your body is restarting its engine," Dr. David Greuner of NYC Surgical Associates, tells Bustle. "Your body temperature and blood pressure rises and chemicals and neurons in your brain are adjusting to the change. You may find that certain 'gross' things have happened to your body while you were sleeping, but they also may be indicators that you’re in good physical health." So even if you've noticed your body behaving differently in the first minutes to hours when you're awake than it does during the rest of the day, chances are you're in all good.
When your body transitions from sleeping to being awake, it's got some processes to go through. You may personally find them gross, but they're likely helping your body stay on track. Here are eight gross things your body does in the morning that actually mean you're healthy, according to experts.
1. Eye Crust
"Eye crusties," "sleep," "eye boogers," whatever you want to call them, the discharge that builds up in your eye after a good night's sleep can feel a little bit unpleasant. But even if you've got a lot of them some mornings, these little nuisances really just mean your eyes are still protecting themselves properly, even when you're asleep.
"The discharge in your eyes when you wake is a combination of dust, natural mucus and skin cells," Dr. Greuner says. "When you’re awake, this is washed away by your tears, but when you’re sleeping, it builds up." So even though you aren't blinking to wash these crusties away, your eyes are still doing the work they need to in order to wash out debris.
2. Large Poops
Because this morning habit is so intensely private, you may be concerned that having large bowel movements in the morning is something to be worried about. Luckily, health experts agree it's a good thing.
"A well-formed, morning bowel movement is a rather unsavory sign that your body is, in fact, functioning properly," health and wellness coach Caleb Backe, tells Bustle. "Your metabolism is regulated and your digestive system is healthy. It may seem gross but a regular, big bowel movement every morning is healthy." So even if it's a bit surprising, be happy your body is doing what it should.
3. Shedding Skin
Don't freak out if you wake up and notice dead skin on your pillow or sheets. Your body actually goes through skin cycles in the morning time, just as it cycles through other processes.
"You may find a lot of skin in your sheets when you wake in the morning," Dr. Greuner says. "Your skin cells are constantly regenerating, and this occurs even more so at night." Of course, if you've noticed anything excessive or any changes, seeing a doctor is a good idea, but usually a bit of shedding skin means your body is doing what it needs to do.
4. Morning Breath
"Saliva, which removes bacteria that causes bad breath, decreases significantly when we are sleeping," Dr. Greuner says. "This results in 'dry mouth' and bacteria build-up on your tongue and teeth, causing your breath to be quite 'stinky' in the morning." As long as you know you're practicing good oral hygiene, a bit of bad breath is just a thing that a healthy mouth does when it wakes up.
5. Dark Urine
During the day, dark urine is usually a sign of dehydration. But in the morning, even if it looks a bit off, a bit of dark pee is probably a sign your body is functioning properly.
"Your body releases a hormone while you sleep to give your kidney’s rest," Backe says. "This means that when you wake up in the morning and your urine is super concentrated, it’s actually a good thing. It means your body is letting your kidneys get sufficient rest while you sleep." Just make sure to drink enough water during the day, too.
It may be gross if you live alone, or potentially embarrassing if you have a roommate or partner, but a bit of gas in the morning is a sign of a healthy digestive system.
"Passing gas in the morning can mean a healthy digestive tract thats on track, which means you are likely getting enough fruits and vegetables," Janette Nesheiwat, M.D, board certified medical doctor, family and emergency medicine, tells Bustle. A little bit of gas could be your body thanking you for treating it right.
7. Making Phlegm
You may find it gross that you wake up and immediately have to blow your nose or clear your throat. But really, you want your body to be able to produce mucus in the morning so that you can keep the bad stuff that builds up overnight away.
"[Making phlegm] is your body clearing any allergens or debris from your nose, sinuses or throat from inflammation or allergies," Dr. Nesheiwat says. "[It] signifies a strong healthy immune system that you are able to clear it from your system." So even if you don't like what comes out, know that it's still a sign of a healthy body.
Just like flatulence, morning burping is a sign of a well-functioning digestive system. You may feel gross about it, but there's no need to be embarrassed about this common body response.
"Because during the night the stomach is working to digest any food in the stomach, gas can accumulate," NYC gastroenterologist Dr. Gina Sam, tells Bustle. "So when we wake up in the morning, belching is completely normal to decompress all the air in the stomach from overnight." Again, morning gas is quite alright and nothing to be concerned about.
Whether you go through your morning routine with a partner, a roommate, or alone, experiencing a couple of gross bodily functions is part of a healthy body's way of waking up. So next time you start to feel ashamed for dead skin on your blanket or a burp, remember that your body is working the way it's supposed to.