By Jamie Gonzales
Timing is everything; just ask a footballer who’s made a goal, a comedian who’s dropped a punchline or a rocket scientist going to Mars. But even for us, regular folks, there’s a right time or window to do (or stop doing) certain things, especially as it pertains to one’s health, family, career and relationships. Right now, for instance, is the perfect time to read on and perhaps learn a science-backed hack or two from our mini one-stop-shop of practical advice! Some you may find surprising, while others can be very specific about stuff to which we normally don’t give much thought.
Health and Fitness
Exercise. We all know it’s good for us, but the difficulty in most cases is sticking to a regular schedule. Experts recommend doing it as soon as you get up in the morning; you won’t have any excuse this early, making it more likely to develop into a habit. Night workouts aren’t bad, but they may affect your sleep.
Checking Your Weight. Because we normally tend to pig out on weekends and burn off calories during the week, it’s best to hit the scale at around the same time every Wednesday to more accurately keep track of one’s weight. The time of day doesn’t matter as long as it’s always done around the same time.
Taking a Nap. Doctors and sleep experts say it’s best to take a short 20-minute snooze at around two or three in the afternoon. It’s when blood sugar level is at a low (it tends to surge when we’re asleep) and as long as we don’t “over-doze,” it’s early enough in the day so as not to mess up regular nighttime sleep.
Taking Vitamins. Vitamins C and B Complex are water-soluble and best taken soon after waking up or on an empty stomach (an hour before or two hours after meals). Multivitamins (including prenatals) are best taken before lunch. Vitamins A, K, D and E are fat-soluble and should be taken with your evening meal.
Drinking Green Tea. To optimize benefits, experts advise drinking green tea either mid-morning, between meals, before exercise, or, because it has caffeine, at least two hours before bedtime. In any case, be sure not to drink on an empty tummy because its high crystalline compound content may cause liver damage.
Putting On Sunscreen. Ever notice how sunblock lotions don’t always seem to work? Dermatologists say that for best results, the skin should be given time – at least 15 minutes before going out – for it to absorb the lotion. It then must be reapplied about every two hours thereafter or sooner if you swim or sweat a lot.
Medical Checkups. They’re now called Periodic Health Assessments and the good news for most people is you now don’t have to drag yourself to the doctor’s office annually. The American Medical Association recommends a checkup every five years for adults aged 18-40 and every one to three years thereafter.
Taking Meds. As a general rule, meds are best taken on an empty stomach (around an hour before or two hours after a meal) to optimize the drug’s benefits. But there are clear exceptions, such as for aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs, which should be taken with food to avoid acid reflux and gastric bleeding.
Checking Blood Pressure. If you have blood pressure issues, doctors recommend taking a measurement before eating or taking meds in the morning and another at night, ideally around the same times each day. They further recommend taking two to three readings every time to make sure the results are accurate.
Having That Cough Checked. Coughing is not just normal but is actually good for us, being the body’s way of expelling mucus and irritants from the lungs due to smoke and pollution, among other things. But if a cough persists for more than eight weeks, the Mayo Clinic says it’s time to consult your doctor.
Having That Rash Checked. Most skin rashes are usually treatable by antihistamines and creams. It’s time to see the doctor, though, in any of these cases: it’s painful, comes with a fever, covers a large part of the body, appears suddenly and spreads rapidly, starts to blister, or gets infected because of scratching.
Taking Asthma Control Inhalers. An asthma condition is unique to the individual, and your doctor knows what’s best for your particular symptoms and needs. Check with your doctor first, but it appears from one study that steroid inhalers work best when regularly taken between 3:00 and 5:30 in the afternoon.
Having Surgery. It would seem prudent to have elective surgery in the morning when surgeons are fresh as a daisy, but it’s an urban myth. Research on this has actually been done, and found that the time of day didn’t make any difference. So, when is the best time? Whatever works for both you and your sawbones!
Family and Relationships
Getting Hitched. The Goldilocks rule is when you’re neither too young nor too old, or ideally, in your late twenties to early thirties. At this age range, you fully understand responsibility and have made significant life choices. Besides, a recent U.S. study has found that those who marry at 28-32 get divorced the least.
Procreation. For best results, you need to be good at arithmetic! Fertility experts say the optimum window for pregnancy is the two to three days right before ovulation. Ovulation normally happens on the 12th and 13th days of a regular menstrual cycle, but can vary widely from woman to woman.
Taking Pregnancy Tests. For accurate results, wait at least a week after missing your period. A pregnant woman’s body needs time to secrete detectable levels of the pregnancy hormone, HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). If you can’t wait until after missing your period, one to two weeks after sex is advisable.
Weaning Your Baby Off the Bottle. This may come as a surprise, but recent pediatric research suggests that bottle-feeding infants should stop entirely by around age one and no later than 18 months; any longer could lead to childhood obesity, iron deficiency and early tooth decay, the longitudinal study found.
Having Another Baby. Assuming everything else is okay (mother’s health, finances, etc.), studies suggest that, for the baby’s health, it’s best to wait two to three years after your first, but in terms of family/sibling relationships, you should go for two when your first child is either under one year or over four years old.
Friendly Competition. Know yourself and your enemy; more specifically, whether you and your rival is a morning person or a night owl. Use this knowledge to your advantage in scheduling game dates with your buddy. One study shows that night owl athletes’ performance can dip by as much as 26% in the morning.
Having a Tough Talk. Some conversations, such as with tweens about the birds and the bees (or one with your wife about that 6 a.m. golf date!) are best had as early in the day as possible. Psychologists say that willpower tends to wear out and you may end up conceding more than you should if the talk is done later.