What's the best time of the day to...

Jane Murphy / 07 July 2017 ( 13 August 2018 )

Brush my teeth, weigh myself and drink my last cup of tea? Plus other daily tasks.

What time should I weigh myself? 

Before breakfast. Everyone's weight fluctuates slightly throughout the day – and factors such as what you've eaten, how much exercise you've done and whether or not you've opened your bowels can make a difference. So to track your weight accurately, stepping on the scales first thing in the morning – usually once a week – is the safest bet. What's key, though, is that you get into the habit of weighing yourself at a regular time, wearing the same clothes and using the same scales.

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What time should I clean my teeth?

It depends on what you've eaten. You don't need us to remind you to clean your teeth morning and night, of course. But it's not always a good idea to do so immediately after eating. Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, temporarily weaken tooth enamel, so brushing your teeth too soon afterwards can damage the enamel. The solution? Wait an hour before brushing – or brush your teeth before eating then drink a glass of water afterwards to help wash away the acids.

Carbonated drinks, such as lemonade and cola, can cause dry mouth and contribute to tooth decay. More on caring for your teeth

What time should I exercise?

Early morning – probably. Admittedly, the jury's still out on this one – but many studies have highlighted the benefits of morning workouts. Some examples? It's best for reducing blood pressure and improving sleep quality, according to researchers at the Appalachian State University. And working out before breakfast can help you burn 20 per cent more fat, compared to people who exercise after their cornflakes, says a Northumbria University study. Plus you're likely to find fewer distractions and excuses to give your workout a miss at this time of day.

What time should I do the crossword?

10.30am. That's when you're back from your workout, of course! Older adults perform better at demanding cognitive tasks in the morning, according to a Canadian study. This boost in performance was linked to an increase in activity in the areas of the brain responsible for attention, memory and control. So once the crossword's out the way, it could be time to tackle your tax return or make a difficult phone call, too.

What time should I eat my main meal?

1pm. Eat your biggest meal in the evening and your body will have to work hard to digest it overnight, resulting in less restorative sleep. What's more, prolonged late-night eating can boost weight, insulin and cholesterol levels, increasing risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, say University of Pennsylvania researchers.

What time should I cut the caffeine?

2.30pm. It's a good idea to make that mid-afternoon cuppa your last for the day. Even caffeine consumed six hours before bedtime can significantly disrupt your slumber and reduce total sleep time by more than an hour, according to a US study.

An afternoon power-nap can boost happiness, focus, performance and creativity.

What time should I take a nap?

3pm. An afternoon power-nap can boost happiness, focus, performance and creativity, according to a study conducted for the Edinburgh International Science Festival. A tip? Drinking that last coffee of the day just before your nap can help you feel more alert when you wake up.

What time should I relax with a drink?

6pm. Enjoy a well-deserved early-evening tipple and you'll allow your body a good few hours to process the alcohol before bedtime. Remember, liver function slows as we age – and drinking later at night will inevitably interfere with your sleep.

What time should I take aspirin?

Bedtime – but do check with your GP first. If you've been prescribed a daily aspirin to protect your heart, you may be better off taking it in the evening. That's according to researchers in the Netherlands, who found that taking aspirin at bedtime significantly reduced platelet activity, making blood less sticky, compared to taking it in the morning. Similarly, some statins may be more effective when taken at night as this is when the liver makes most cholesterol.

What time should I go to bed?

The same time as last night and the night before. Try to stick to a regular bedtime to encourage your body's natural 24-hour sleep cycle. And switch off any electronic gadgets with a back-lit display, such as TVs, computers and smartphones, at least an hour before bed: the 'blue light' from the screen interferes with production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Need more convincing? People who go to bed at the same time every night are more successful and perform better academically, says a recent US study. Sweet dreams!

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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.