When's the best time to…?

Jane Murphy / 10 July 2017

There's a best time for everything – whether it's getting a doctor's appointment, starting a diet or simply having a peaceful dip in the pool.



When's the best time to quit smoking? 

Now. No, we're not being facetious: smokers who try to cut down gradually rather than going 'cold turkey' are 25 per cent less likely to kick the habit for good, Oxford University researchers have found. And if your partner quits at the same time, you'll both double your chances of success, says a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Remember, your health can start to improve within 20 minutes of smoking that final cigarette. 

Good reasons to give up smoking

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When's the best time to call your GP? 

Late morning in midweek. If it's not urgent, wait until the morning rush has died down and you'll get through quicker – plus staff will know about last-minute cancellations so might be able to find you an appointment sooner. Mondays and Fridays are generally the busiest days, so you'll have more luck if you call in the middle of the week. 

5 ways to get a GP appointment today

When's the best time to go to the gym? 

Sunday afternoon. Prefer it when the gym is less crowded? Popular times vary according to location, of course – but you can generally expect things to be quieter on weekend afternoons, particularly Sundays, when people are busy with friends and family. Mondays are the busiest days. And if your gym is near shops and offices, avoid the middle of the day during the week when workers squeeze their workouts into their lunch breaks. 

The fail-proof gym workout

When's the best time to apply sunscreen? 

Half an hour before heading out. Plan to be out in the sun for a while? To ensure sunscreen is fully absorbed and offers maximum protection, NHS guidelines recommend you apply it to all exposed skin twice before leaving the house: once 30 minutes beforehand, then once more just before you head out. 

Super sun creams

When's the best time to have sex? 

Thursday morning – probably. This is when our natural cortisol levels, which stimulate sex hormones, are at their weekly peak, say London School of Economics researchers. However, you may also like to note that women's sexual appetite peaks at 11pm on Saturdays, according to a survey by Women's Health magazine. 

Sex over 60: what no one will tell you

When's the best time to start a diet? 

Monday. Taking advantage of the 'fresh start' effect after the weekend can strengthen your resolve and make you more likely to succeed, according to experts at the University of Pennsylvania. And because there tends to be less temptation to fall off the wagon earlier in the week, you'll have a few clear days to get used to the regime and form new healthy eating habits. 

Weight loss tips to help you stay on track


When's the best time to go to the supermarket? 

8am or 8pm on weekdays. You can avoid 'trolley rage' and shop without the crowds first thing in the morning or later in the evening during weekdays. A couple of tips? Try to avoid Mondays as stocks are often low – particularly of that all-important fresh fruit and veg – after the busy weekend. And if you can wait until the evening, you're more likely to pick up a bargain as this is when more prices are reduced as products near their sell-by date. 

8 ways to reduce your supermarket food spend

When's the best time to go swimming? 

It depends. Dream of having the pool to yourself? Don't we all! The trick here is to do your homework. While early morning and late evening are often the quietest times, this can vary if part of the pool is closed off for lessons – so do check the timetables. Our tip? Try mid-afternoon – after the busy lunchtime period but before the kids get out of school. 

The fitness benefits of swimming

When's the best time for a catch-up with your best friend? 

Tuesday. That's the day of the week when you're both most likely to be in need of a pick-me-up, say researchers at the London School of Economics. Yes, contrary to popular belief, Monday isn't the most miserable day of the week. The reason? We're still experiencing the feel-good effects of the weekend on Monday – but they've well and truly disappeared by the following day. 

10 rules of successful friendship

When's the best time to remember your umbrella? 

Tuesday. It's regularly the wettest day of the week in the UK, according to research for the Manchester Science Festival. So if you do follow our advice above and arrange a Tuesday catch-up with a friend, plan to meet under cover and don't leave home without your brolly! 

Splash out on some wonderful new wellies

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.