You’ve got your routine, but have you divvied your daily activities according to your body’s built-in body clock (aka circadian rhythm)?
These rhythms mean there are peak times to perform many of your daily activities. See how your schedule stacks up against research and whether or not you need to alter the timing of any of these daily tasks.
According to your body block, this is the best time in the day to:
1. Go Outdoors
You may have already guessed it, but it’s best to enjoy the outdoors in the morning! The eye’s photosensitive cells help to lure you out of bed in the morning, and exposure to morning sunlight helps to raise the body’s temperature to normal as well as improve cognition. Take a walk outdoors in the morning and get your day off to a healthy and happy start.
2. Drink Coffee
Many of us can’t function properly without our morning Joe, so it comes as a surprise that the morning is actually the worst time to drink coffee. Say, what?! Don’t blame me, blame science! In the morning, the body’s cortisol levels are high. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates stress and blood glucose levels. When you consume coffee in the morning, the caffeine interferes with the body’s cortisol production. Not producing as much cortisol as usual, the body then turns to caffeine to compensate. Meanwhile, because the caffeine is working backwards to replace some of the work cortisol would have accomplished on its own, you’ll need even more caffeine to your day in order to get that deserved buzz.
Morning is not the only time when cortisol levels are high – early afternoon and early evening are also when the body’s cortisol levels are high. Drink coffee between 10 a.m. and noon and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and you’ll avoid the cortisol clash.
There’s no direct answer to this question, as there are too many variables at play: the type of sport, the level of exertion, and individual stress levels, among many others.
Morning exercise is convenient for many people, because it allows them to get it out of the way before starting the day. Late workouts increase the heart rate and body temperature and may make it harder to have a good night’s sleep. Meanwhile, morning workouts jumpstart the metabolism, and working out on an empty stomach can help you burn up to 20 percent more body fat, which is more likely to be achieved in the a.m.
However, there is a downside to working out in the a.m. Exercise is more effective when the body’s core temperature is warmer and the muscles are looser, which tends to be the case later in the day. Meanwhile, the body produces more testosterone later in the afternoon, making it a crucial time for building muscle. Blood vessel dilation is poor in the morning, and by the early afternoon, blood vessels begin to dilate and decrease blood pressure. This makes for a more effective full-body exercise.
Either way, when you choose to exercise depends on your personal preference, the only rule being that you stay consistent and continue to workout the same hour each and every day. Working out at the same time every day offers a slew of benefits: increased physical performance, higher oxygen consumption, and lower perceived exhaustion.
A good nap can work wonders on your mental and physical health. Studies show that naps can substantially boost alertness, creativity, mood, and productivity into the late hours of the day. A nap even as short as a few minutes can trigger active memory processes. But when in the day should you nap to reap the greatest benefits? The answer depends on your sleep patterns.
Humans are physiologically programmed to hit a wall between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., so it is only logical to take your nap some time between those hours. If you hit the hay around 10 p.m. and wake up as early as 6 a.m., take a nap at 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. If you like to stay up past midnight and get up past 8 a.m., take a nap around 2:30 p.m. or 3 p.m.
5. Go to Bed
Now that we’ve covered napping, how about sleeping? The best time to sleep is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. according to our bodies’ natural circadian rhythms (which mimics the sun rising and falling). While these hours can change slightly from one person to the next, as some people are night owls and others are all about early-to-bed-early-to-rise life, the key is to make sure to fall asleep before midnight and get between 7 and 9 hours of quality shuteye. Between 8 p.m. and midnight, the body has the opportunity to get all the non-REM and REM sleep needed to function properly.
The best time of day to eliminate is about 30 minutes after waking. This helps to clear the colon of yesterday’s waste before you begin to consume food for today. This varies significantly from one person to the next, but it is best to poop as soon as possible in the day to avoid compounding matter in the system. To achieve this, keep your digestive system in check and because your bowel loves consistency, don’t veer too off course from your routines from one day to the next.
7. Drink a Green Juice or Smoothie
A green juice or smoothie is a daily habit worth having, but when should you enjoy these beverages for maximum benefit? A juice or smoothie’s nutrients are easily assimilated into the bloodstream and welcomed into the digestive tract in the morning, on an empty stomach. These green drinks not only undulate your body with highly alkaline, raw substances but also wake you up with a refreshing kick that will keep you feeling more accountable to your diet for the rest of the day.
8. Work Most Effectively
Your mental peak occurs between 10 a.m. and noon. This is when your concentration, memory, and creativity should be accessed. Use this period to solve a difficult problem or to simply ponder a situation with your most effective thinking cap on. The late afternoon is the time of day when the body’s core temperature begins to rise, which lends to better cognitive function. Take a warm shower to jumpstart this process! From noon to 4 p.m., the body is more easily distracted, so take advantage of the morning hours to get the most brain-intensive tasks finished.
9. Post to Social Media for Retweets and Likes
For social media aficionados out there, if you’re looking for a retweet, post on Twitter between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. It is during this time that many people lack the energy to share their own tweets and thus rely on others to express for them. For the most likes, post on Facebook at 8 p.m., when people have just finished dinner after returning home from work and turn to Facebook to unwind.
10. Have Sex
The best time of day to have sex is a matter of synchronizing two people’s libidos, which requires a bit of compromise, especially on the man’s part. Men’s testosterone levels are highest in the morning, which makes it a great time for them to have sex, but it isn’t until around 3 p.m., when men’s estrogen levels are highest that they are able to give the emotional support and focus to their partners. The best time for women to have sex is midday, when the hormone cortisol and energy levels are high. The best compromise: 3 p.m. Men can better satisfy their women at this time – a surefire turn on for men – and women are ready to rumble.
Girl Holding Clock Image from Shutterstock