Timing is so important – from what you eat, to what you do, to the supplements you take – sometimes the when can matter just as much as the what.
The best time for anything is the time that you can do it. So, if timing things is creating enough of a hurdle that you give up altogether, you may want to reconsider your approach.
In today’s episode, we discuss the best times to do, well, everything you do! Cherry pick what you want to apply to your routines and what’s feasible for you, then add to it, piece by piece.
Many people are confused by whether to eat before, or after, exercise, and the truth is that it depends. If you’re a morning workout person, it’s best to do so on an empty stomach as you’ll access fat stores as energy. If you eat first and then exercise, you burn off your breakfast, instead.
Another benefit of morning exercise is that it tends to reduce your eating the rest of the day. However, you should not be exercising at the expense of healthy sleep. Prioritize getting at least seven hours before you cut into your rest to work out.
Late workouts aren’t a kiss of death as long as it’s not too close to bedtime, but it can be tricky to manage the timing without impacting your sleep in a negative way. If you feel like being active in the evening, try taking a passeggiate. This is an Italian term that means taking a leisurely walk after dinner, usually around 5-10 minutes. Activities like this after a bigger meal are excellent for blood sugar.
Are you annoyed by waking up in the middle of the night to go pee? That’s one reason why it’s important to frontload your water intake as much as possible. We lose a lot of water while we sleep, and people tend not to drink enough to replenish that in the early morning. Our rule of thumb is: one liter before lunch. If you’re waking up multiple times in the night, try to skip any major drinking of fluids two hours before bed.
There are a few vitamins you don’t want to take late in the day:
- Vitamin D (can interfere with melatonin production)
- B Vitamins (can be stimulating)
Nighttime-approved vitamins include:
- Passion flower or our Sweet Dreams drops
- Probiotics (best on an empty stomach)
You’ll want to limit your protein intake to later in the day. Researchers at the Institute of Metabolic Science at Cambridge looked into how dietary nutrients influence and stimulate wakefulness. The study involved the use of lab rats who were introduced to different proteins, fats, and carbs. The study found that protein was more difficult to digest and, having too much, too late, can affect sleep, which, as we know, can have a serious negative effect on overall health.
In The Little Book of Thin we talk about “Dunch,” or eating dinner for lunch. It’s a good method to shift some or all of your protein intake to earlier in the day. We also call this a “Diamond Day,” with your first and last meals of the day being the smallest, and the largest meal being in the middle of the day.
There is some variation when it comes to the best time to sleep, person to person. The ideal timing for you will depend on your body’s tendencies. As a general rule, enable night shift mode on your phone 30-60 minutes before bed to begin the wind down process.
It’s also important to note that the amount of sleep everyone needs can vary, with seven hours being a good baseline. If you feel yourself constantly fatigued during the day, experiment with giving yourself more time to sleep. Also, follow the steps we’ve outlined above to avoid foods, supplements, and activities that will impact the quality of your sleep.
We know we have savvy listeners, so if you’re already on top of which foods and supplements are best for you – maybe it’s time to shift focus to the timing and rhythms in your life to fine tune it even further. We hope you found this helpful, this is definitely an interesting field we’ll be looking into more in the future.
- Lipid Metabolism Links Nutrient-Exercise Timing to Insulin Sensitivity in Men Classified as Overweight or Obese
- BYU study says exercise may reduce motivation for food
- The influence of vitamin D supplementation on melatonin status in patients with multiple sclerosis
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Really insightful and great podcast. I intermittent fast by default not as a strategy since I typically don’t eat my first meal until 1:00 p.m. or later on most days. I like to be done eating by 7:00/7:30 most days but also like to fit barre classes in around 4:30/5:00 which can sometimes make it challenging to conclude eating by then. And what to do when out to dinner especially as social season kicks in? I typically have a protein app with a salad or a side of vegetables. Is this sufficient to limit lower protein later in the day?