The moment you finish the last episode of your favorite show or the last chapter of a great book at night, you probably want nothing more than to flop into your bed and instantly fall asleep. Before that bliss though, you might have dishes to do, teeth to brush, and makeup to wipe off. Get ready for your night routine to get much quicker, because there are a number of healthy habits that benefit you in the morning, but not as much at night.
Some good-for-you habits can benefit you from sunup to sundown. For example, licensed psychotherapist Lindsay Cooke, tells Bustle that integrating positive routines both right after you wake up and right after you fall asleep can help reduce your stress levels and center your mind. For example, meditation, yoga, and affirmations all have a place no matter what time it is, because they help promote your mental health and soothe any anxieties.
There are still plenty of habits that can’t do effective double-duty like this though, such as reading the news on your phone, or taking supplements that boost your amount of vitamin B. Whatever your schedule looks like now, it may be best to consider moving around your shower times and your skincare regimen, because not everything benefits your body the same in the morning and at night.
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1. Taking Vitamins
“There are several vitamins that are best taken in the morning. This is because they can affect your sleep if taken in the evening,” Lisa Richards a certified nutritionist, tells Bustle. B vitamins especially should be taken first thing during the day, she says, since they boost your energy levels, and so taking them in the morning will give you some long-lasting energy to get through the day. “If you take B vitamins at night, they are likely to lead to restlessness and insomnia,” Richards says.
2. Having Caffeine
Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle that you’re much better off enjoying the caffeine in coffee, soda, and even chocolate in the morning rather than at night, so fuel up on pain au chocolate with your breakfast espresso. “Caffeine can remain present in the system for up to four to six hours after it is ingested,” Dr. Jackson says, and can disrupt your sleep patterns if you drink it too late. That being said, caffeine doesn’t affect everyone’s body the same way, so if you’re one of the few who can can down an iced coffee right before bed and still sleep like a baby, you do you.
3. Using Your Phone At Night
You might have heard that using electronics before bed isn’t the best for you thanks to the effect that blue light can have on your circadian rhythm, but what you might not realize is that — according to Dr. Jackson — your cell phone can play a surprising role in waking your body up in the morning. “Using these devices in the morning can aid in telling your brain to wake up as you get going in the morning,” she says. “Something as simply as avoiding the snooze button and instead engaging in a relaxing game can really help to wake your brain up.”
4. Working Out
When it comes to exercise, sometimes you just have to expend some energy whenever you can fit it into your routine. But Dr. Jackson says that if you’re really looking for an idea time of day to get your sweat on, opt for a morning workout. “Exercising at night can have an adverse impact on your sleep cycle,” she says. “When we exercise, it releases chemicals in the brain that keep us alert.” Those chemicals are the same ones that are great for giving you daytime energy, though, so getting in a little bit of movement first thing might be the perfect way to boost your energy levels.
5. Having Dessert At Night
Let’s be clear: Enjoying a rich chocolate tart or a gooey chocolate chip cookie before you climb into bed is pretty much perfection. But if you’re looking to get the most restful sleep possible, you might want to enjoy the sweet treat a little earlier in your day. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a heart health and nutrition expert and author of Atrial Fibrillation, tells Bustle that your favorite dessert can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, disrupting your sleep as your body tries to normalize your blood sugar and get rid of excess glucose through your urine. Besides, maybe a decadent post-lunch dessert is just the inspiration you need to finish the rest of your day strong.
6. Having A Big Meal
Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day, Dr. Arun R. Kaushik tells Bustle, and a large meal rich in protein, carbs, and healthy fats will benefit you most in the morning. Having a large portion of food right before you go to bed, on the other hand, can cause digestive issues and even keep you awake. Melatonin, which your body begins to produce as bedtime approaches, cues your body to pause digestive processes until the morning, which is not ideal if you’ve just enjoyed a meal.
7. Reading The News At Night
Checking whatever news site you prefer might be a force of habit as you’re taking the bus to work or settling in for the day. While this can help keep you up-to-date on what’s happening around the world, this is one habit that can be harmful at night, Cooke says. Reading about tragedies, controversies, or political scandals right before you go to bed can provoke a strong stress response in your body and mind, which can severely hurt your sleep quality.
Go ahead and relax with a soothing game on your phone before savoring a balanced meal for breakfast. You’ll be benefitting your physical and mental health.