[adrotate banner=”26″]There’s a lot of good stuff to be said about mornings. Fitness professionals often tout this time of day as being best for exercise, as it’s great for getting a boost of energy before heading into a busy day, as well offering less room to let said busy day get in the way of a sweat session. In addition to fitness, the a.m. goes on to get all the glory with its “most important” meal of the day. Take in a well-balanced breakfast, and you’re primed for eating right all day.
With such a love fest erupting at sunrise, it’s easy to believe that morning is the only time to make healthy habits. Not so. Whether you’re a night owl or just hit the snooze button to sneak in a few extra Zzz’s, the p.m. is still prime time for promoting fat loss. Before you head to bed, give these nighttime tips a try.
1. Make a Meal: If you’re usually rushed for time in the morning, use the night before to set yourself up for an easier tomorrow. After you’ve eaten dinner–and are no longer hungry–pack a healthy lunch for the next day. Use leftovers from dinner, or base the next noon meal on foods you tend to crave during the day. For example, if your belly/brain typically scream for a burrito midday, pack a bowl of black beans, salsa, lettuce, and grilled chicken to eliminate a run for Mexican carry-out.
2. Schedule a Workout: Skim the online offerings of exercise classes in your area and, if possible, sign up to take one the next day. If you can’t pre-register, at least add it to your personal calendar so that it’s planned for the day. Text a friend that evening to see if she can join you. You’re more likely to go if you’ve paid in advance, booked it into your day, or have someone counting on you to be there. Before you go to bed, pack a bag with the clothing and items you’ll need so that it will even easier to exercise without any hassles.
3. Set a Bedtime: Night owl or not, you need to get your sleep. Changing the time you go to bed every night can make it difficult to get the eight to ten hours recommended. Determine what time you typically need to wake up in the morning, and count backward to set your pillow time. The more rest you get, the better your body can heal from exercise and daily stress, as well as allow natural fat-burning hormones do their job.
4. Shut Down: An hour or two before you go to bed, shut down your devices. Screen time, including phones, TVs, tablets, and computers, can cause your brain to stay up and alert even once you decide to power down. You need about an hour or two for your brain to do its own powering down. Use this quiet time to write in a journal, meditate, or read a book–the paper kind.
5. Stretch It Out: Whether you worked out during the day or not, your body takes a beating. Activities such as driving in traffic, sitting at a computer, or doing chores around the house can cause your muscles to tense up. Use the p.m. hours to gently stretch your muscles, focusing on areas that feel particularly achy.
So what if you didn’t rise with the sun? Sneak in these healthy habits before your head hits the hay, and your day will be anything but wasted!
What nighttime habits help make a healthier you? Share with others in the comments.