What is the best time to exercise

So, after starting to gain weight on sitting in front of my computer too long, I have decided to take the plunge and maybe stick to an exercise regimen. As has been reported by some studies, exercising in the morning can be more beneficial than doing so in the evening. Now, personally, waking up in the morning is a huge chore for me. Furthermore, I have people advising me to hit the loo (toilet) before exercising as it may not be good for my health and leads to waste accumulation in the body. Now, search as I may, I cant find any basis that supports this theory. I understand that hygiene might be a factor but does exercising in the morning before going to the loo have any effects on health in general? Thanks.

WHO's definition about Health

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

In other words, Good health means active life where you can express yourself freely, you can succeed and can make mistakes, can reach your goals, can understand your body and others, and can say no when you see your limit to yourself and others - and can set new targets to yourself, feel accepted in your society and accept yourself as you are.

Best time to Exercise for successful results in competitions - dependent on Age

  • Endurance atletes during ages 25-30 years in this answer about Why does max heart rate decrease with age?

Short-term and long-term effects of exercise on Vitality

There are many stages in your question in Physiology, Pathophysiology and Microbiology, for instance. I can cover here only the surface:

  • very short effect of short exercise (20 min) on brain
  • long term effect of regular short exercise (20 min) on brain, hypothalamus and biologic clock - wakefulness (limbic system)
  • long-term effect of regular weekly exercise (3.5 h) on brain
  • long-term effect of regular weekly exercise (3.5 h) on body muscles
  • long-term effect of careful regular stretching and appropriate resting on congestion of body
  • long-term effect of regular weekly exercise (3.5 h) on metabolism
  • effect of regular exercise on circulation system (blood and lymph) - known to increase i.e. include temperature distribution and defence bodies distribution
  • short-term effect of short exercise on PTH secretion (calcium); autoregulation of renal blood flow with two major theories: myogenic mechanism and tubuloglomerular effect

where I only briefly cover one term in Pathology. There are two unanswered questions about the renal function [Costanzo, 2013]

(1) What component of tubular fluid is sensed at the macula densa? The major candidates are luminal Na+ and Cl−. (2) What vasoactive substance is secreted by the juxtaglomerular apparatus to act locally on afferent arterioles? Here, the candidates are adenosine, ATP, and thromboxane.

so to understand the effect of short-term morning training on PTH secretion, we should understand the two questions first.

Evidences to some things

Short-term exercise can work sometimes as prophylactics for allergic symptoms. I think the most important thing is the irritation of your skin which is the most important endocrine organ in our body. Skin's temperature change secretes many hormones than help us to stand irritations from the environment.

What are the effects of short-term exercise in the morning depends on the patient at hand. I cannot say much general. For instance, if your heart is not strained; that it has too high T peak, too heavy exercise can cause you harm.

My personal experience

  • Short-term exercise suited to a person with no deficits in sleeping can help to alleviate symptoms of allergies and decrease stress in a normally physiological balances without viral infections,

but the real world is not that nice. The problem comes if the patient has any disease that uses our immune system against us such as some viral infection. The immune response is also the source of pathogenesis for many viral diseases. Unlike for a bacterial infection, the ultimate goal of the immune response in a viral infection is to eliminate both the virus and the host cells harbouring or replicating the virus, [Murray, Medical Microbiology, 6th ed]. Actually, some drugs are immunosuppressant like cortisone, and some procedures like radiation therapy.

However, with some medication plans, you should avoid drugs, living styles and habits that immunosuppresses your body. For instance, HIV patients with HAART medication plan (medication combination is antiretroviral but possible immunosuppressive pathways may exist in different conditions) that involves a strategy depending on the condition, since HAART medications are life-long and cannot be stop, so other conditions etc TBC must be treated first, to avoid too much burden on the body at the same time. In a similar way, avoiding living style or habits that puts immunosystem down can help with HIV. Doing sport when you have slept badly many days and feel exhausted, puts your body under immunosuppression. So the state of the disease or your physical wellbeing determines when sport is useful and when not.

Other part of your question

To hit toiled before exercise is good because then

  • you decrease the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and venous congestion.
  • effect of exercise on constipation is one topic here; depends on you, since there are many types

The more stuff you have in your colon and gastrointestinal system, the harder it is to use fully your muscles of your body. Try pull-ups with more empty colon vs full one. Pull-ups require many muscles from upper trunk and lower trunk. You cannot use all your stomach muscles if something is blocking your middle body muscles.

Good Hygiene is the easiest way to decrease the risk of any infections caused by many factors. I estimate that 2-5 % of people visiting public toilets wash hands correctly; one video here about how one should do it. Many people leave their hands wet. If you have infection in your body, you should not exercise because failure to resolve the infection may lead to persistent or chronic infection or death. It takes much energy from our body to handle with infections. To recover from training, it requires good balance of many factors.


The best time to do sport when you are healthy

  • you do not have any infections (viral particularly) because a failure to resolve the infection can lead to persistent or chronic infection or death
  • when you have prepared early enough for the exercise with enough sleep

where pathologies and/or teratologies are not limiting your process. You compete only against yourself and then grow from that to see you how good person you are really.

The morning exercise in a body which has rested well before the exercise and prepared accordingly to the exercise can be useful because

  • short-term effects on the brain (process things during exercise) (See Figure 1)
  • possible short-term effects during day after the exercise

and if the exercise becomes a habit in a healthy person, then

  • long-term effects: increased metabolism and many other positive effects described above
  • and many other possible reasons from social to better self-esteem

when the the person listens to his body and stops when it hurts or something goes over; can rest accordingly. Good motivation is useful in gaining good health. Motivation is the strength and direction of the effort. If you are interested in morning exercise, then you can set target and make a realistic plan. Listen your own body and be able to refit your plan accordingly. Actually, here is an important step that the consultation of many doctors can be useful; one doctor cannot always see the main problem for instance of prolonged and deepened allergic symptoms. Consultation and discussions of other people can also be useful - like discussing where to help for this and this; who has enough capabilities to understand it. The person cannot always know himself what is a main disease underneath. Anything can come that postpone some training sessions.


  1. Infectious disease courses 2015-2016
  2. Gleeson. The effect on immunity of long-term intensive training in elite swimmers.
  3. Anderson. Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety. 2013.
  4. Laires. Exercise, magnesium and immune function.
  5. Gunzer. Exercise-Induced Immunodepression in Endurance Athletes and Nutritional Intervention with Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat-What Is Possible, What Is Not?
  6. HAART and HIV in DynaMed Plus. Visited 7.8.2016.
  7. WHO. Health Education. Visited 7.8.2016.

What is The Best Time of Day to Nap?

While you may have taken naptime for granted as a child, you can still nap as an adult. There are plenty of benefits of napping, so you can enjoy a short snooze guilt-free.

The physical benefits of napping include a decreased risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and other cardiovascular diseases (1). Taking naps also reduces levels of stress and anxiety (2) and gives your immune system a boost.

Taking a nap may have benefits for your work, too. After a nap, people experience improved job performance (3), better concentration, and improved alertness. Plus, naps contribute to strengthening memories (4) and help you creatively problem solve.

One key to a successful nap is taking it at the right time. Too early or late of a nap can make you feel groggy. A poorly timed nap can also negatively impact the shuteye you get at night. However, following the natural sleepiness rhythms of your body can help you time your nap just right.

When Is the Best Time to Take a Nap?

The best time to take a nap for most people is either right before lunch, around 12:30 p.m., or during the post-lunch dip, around 2 p.m. (5). During the post-lunch dip, also called the nap zone (6), you are more likely to feel a little sleepy or fatigued (7). This after-lunch sleepiness can negatively affect your alertness, concentration, and memory (8).

There are a few factors that cause the post-lunch dip. First, the contents of your lunch impact your performance. Eating a large or carb-heavy lunch (9) can bring on feelings of sleepiness. A low-fat lunch can also affect performance accuracy.

Biology also plays a factor in ideal nap times. In human sleep behavior, there are two peak times in a 24-hour period in which you are most likely to fall or remain asleep (10). The first peak time is typically during the night when you sleep the deepest. The second peak time is about 12 hours later, at the halfway point to that first peak time. Because of this natural sleep rhythm, people experience tiredness during the post-lunch time frame, even if they haven’t eaten a meal.

Your individual sleep-wake rhythm should determine your nap time. If you work overnight, then your ideal nap time will be in the middle of the night or in the early morning (11) instead of in the afternoon.

When Is It Too Late to Take a Nap?

To align with a natural human sleep rhythm, avoid napping after 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. If you miss the post-lunch window, taking a nap later in the day can disrupt your evening sleep schedule.

However, a nap taken between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. is much better than a nap taken between 7 p.m and 9 p.m. (12). If you nap during this later time frame, you might struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. You might also wake the next morning feeling less than well-rested.

What Is the Best Amount of Time to Nap?

The best amount of time to nap is between 10 and 20 minutes (13). The trick to a well-timed nap is to make sure you enter stage 2 sleep (14) and wake up before you reach stage 3 sleep. During stage 1 sleep, which is only a few minutes long, your body relaxes and slows down (15). During stage 2 sleep, your body relaxes and slows down even more.

A nap of 30 minutes or longer risks running into stage 3 sleep. Stage 3 entails a deeper sleep and helps you feel refreshed in the morning after a full night of sleep. During a nap, you might struggle to wake up from stage 3 sleep. When you do wake up, you might feel groggy and experience a delay in the positive effects of a nap, also called sleep inertia, or you might not experience positive benefits from the nap at all.

Optimize Your Nap

Nap time and length are important for getting the right midday rest. However, other factors can also enhance your ability to successfully nap.

Create a Nap-Friendly Sleep Environment

Ideally, the place you sleep (16) is quiet, set to a cool temperature, and free of distractions. If you work from home, you may want to nap in your bedroom.

At work, you may need to modify your office or car to create a space appropriate for napping. Drawing the blinds or wearing an eye mask can block out light. Try using noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, or a fan to conceal excess noise. Remember to eliminate distractions when possible. Set your phone aside. If you nap in your office, leave a note on the door asking your colleagues not to disturb you.

Improve Your Post-Nap Boost with Caffeine

Research shows if you want an extra boost with your nap, have a cup of coffee (17) before you close your eyes. The caffeine-nap combination is more effective than a cup of coffee or nap alone.

Wake Yourself Up When Your Nap Is Over

As tempting as hitting the snooze button may be, resist doing so when your alarm goes off after your nap. Instead, stand up and get your body moving to signal that your nap is over. You might make a routine for yourself, such as walking down to a colleague’s office or doing a 30-second dance to a song, that inspires you to get back to work.

Practice Makes a Perfect Nap

Don’t worry if you can’t fall asleep during your first naptime. Use the time to close your eyes and rest. You can also meditate to help your body relax.

It may take some effort to determine what time, length, and location are right for your ideal snooze. You might experiment with napping before lunch for a week, then after lunch the following week. With time, you can discover what kind of nap leaves you feeling refreshed, energized, and ready for the rest of your day.

Different Types of Exercise

Many people do not realize that they should not only be getting more exercise but getting more of diverse kinds of exercise. In general, there are four different types of exercise that health professionals recommend: strength training, aerobic exercise, flexibility exercises and balance training. All of these are important to maintaining a healthy and functional body over a lifetime. In fact, major health agencies recommend that people get each of these types of exercise on a regular basis.

Strength training, such as weightlifting, is crucial because it builds muscle that contributes to weight loss and a higher general metabolic rate. However, it is also crucial for building strong bones. This type of exercise is important for people of all ages, but especially for people approaching old age and those who are otherwise at risk of fractures. Aerobic exercise is important because it trains our bodies to have endurance, or to be able to perform for longer amounts of time. In addition, it gives our heart and lungs a workout, contributing to better long-term health and lower disease risk in these systems.

Balance and flexibility come naturally to us as children but gradually become problem areas. Because it is normal to lose both balance and flexibility as we age, doctors recommend doing focused balance exercises such as yoga or tai chi as well as daily stretches throughout adulthood.

Is there a better time of day to fit in these diverse activities? According to researchers, the answer is yes—but the best timing depends partially on your individual health goals. In addition, lifestyle factors and individual preferences are also important in deciding when to work out.


A run commute is a great way to multitask at the end of the day change at the office, stash essentials in a small bag and avoid the rush hour traffic. If you prefer running when you get home, it can be a great way to shake off the stress and worries of a long day. If you have a fast speed workout (or race), evening might be the best time to do it. Studies have shown that in the late afternoon, our muscles are warm and primed for tougher efforts.

But of course there are downsides to evening running. Anything from a growling stomach to a last minute work meeting can throw a wrench in your plans. And runners with sensitive stomachs may struggle with exercising after a day of eating.

Bottom line: The best time of day to run is probably whenever you can fit in the miles! If you want to mix and match runs at different times of day, go for it. Like much of running, when you run is about personal preference and lifestyle.

When Is The Best Time To Workout? Here&rsquos What Science Says

It's a debate that never seems to get settled: When is the best time to work out? Are you more likely to experience the bennies of exercising if you do it in the morning, afternoon, or after the sun sets?

The research is certainly mixed. But Lara Carlson, PhD, associate professor of applied exercise science at the University of New England says that many studies favor the morning. "There's research that has looked at people engaging in morning versus afternoon exercise, and those who exercise in the morning have lower blood pressure throughout the day and get better sleep," she says.

That said, other research suggests that people may have more power and strength during early evening workouts. A study published in the Journal Of Sports Sciences found that between 4 and 8 p.m. participants' grip strength, vertical jump, and even reaction times were at their best compared to other times of day.

But when it really comes down to it, the answer is pretty simple: The best time to work out is whenever you can do it. You'll experience the feel-good effects of exercising regardless of whether you favor the morning or evening, and there are science-backed pros for both. The key is to make it work for you.

I you need a little help deciding, here are the upsides that make a case for either exercising in the morning or in the evening, plus tips from real women on how to do it.

First, let&rsquos get into the benefits of working out in the morning that are backed by science and experts.

There are definitely perks for sweating in the a.m. &ldquoMorning exercisers tend to have better adherence in the long run,&rdquo says Stephen Ball, PhD, a professor of exercise physiology and nutrition at the University of Missouri. &ldquoLife usually doesn&rsquot get in the way as much at this time.&rdquo

Starting with a healthy choice can also have a snowball effect throughout the day. Household too hectic to scoot out to the gym in the early morning? Set your alarm just 10 or 15 minutes earlier and do a few simple stretches or body-weight moves by your bed.

If weight loss or weight management is part of your fitness goals, you should also consider completing your workouts in the a.m. Morning exercise, specifically moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise (i.e. cardio), was more effective in appetite control, calorie intake and weight loss than an evening-based training program, per a small study published in the Journal of Clinical Obesity. What's more: Women who exercise in the morning compared to those who pushed their workouts to the afternoon experience greater satiety levels also leading to better appetite control, found research published in the Journal of Asian Medicine.

Studies have also linked working out in the morning to greater weight loss. Participants who got their sweat on soon after they woke up lost more weight than those who did the same amount of exercise later in the day in a study published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Even if weight loss isn't your aim, working out in the morning has other benefits worth setting your alarm a little earlier to reap. Women who workout in the a.m., on average, tend to get about 20 more minutes of physical activity than those who workout at night, according to a study A recent study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Sports.

So, how does that stack up against the science-backed benefits working out in the afternoon or evening?

First off, you can use the boost from your afternoon or evening workout to fuel better rest, quite literally. Though the effects of sleep on exercise have long been disputed some studies point to the fact that exercise can actually improve sleep. One study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology actually found that high-intensity, early evening exercise didn't disrupt sleep in endurance runners, and actually improved it. And if you&rsquore afraid exercise might hype you up too much to wind down, another study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that vigorous exercise actually has no influence on your quality of sleep.

Something else that may sway you toward exercising in the evening: better performance. Competition-level athletes found that they were able to perform better well after they woke up, per a study published in the Journal of Current Biology. (For some, they didn&rsquot meet their peak performance levels until 11 hours after.)

And there&rsquos more good news about exercising at night. Combining strength and endurance training in the evening may lead to larger gains in muscle mass, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. But there is a catch: The study participants only saw these results when their train exceeded 12 weeks, which means consistency is key&mdashwhich is true about seeing real gains no matter what time of day you tend to exercise.

Bottom Line: There is no perfect time to exercise, but there are some science-backed benefits that can help you decide what time is best for you. Exercising in the morning can aid in weight loss, but exercising in the evening has been associated with larger muscle gains. Exercising in the morning and evening are both associated with better sleep quality, so you&rsquore bound to experience bennies no matter what time of the day you work out.

Perfect Time Table For Students

Here we are going to discuss the best time table for study for a student at home. We will tell you about the different time table suitable for different classes like class 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Best Time Table For a Student of Class 6, 7, And 8

First of all, we are going to tell you about the time table for the students studying in class 6, 7, and 8. These classes require an almost equal amount of labour. So a single time table will be enough for all these 3 class.

The following table shows the study time table for the morning session. You can make slight changes in this time table according to your need. But whichever time table you adopt, try to follow this with your heart.

We advise you to build the habit of following a daily routine or time table once you have decided to adopt. It will enable you to form the habit of obeying certain planned work.

Morning Time Table for Study

Wake Up Time05:00 AM
Finish Your Daily Routine(Always have a glass of warm water before going for toilet)05:00 AM-05:15 AM
Morning Walk or Have Some exercise (Yoga)05:15 AM-05:45 AM
Have a Bath05:45 AM to 06:00 AM
Meditation/Prayer/Worship06:00 AM to 06:15 AM
Spend some time on the revision of yesterdays work06:15 AM to 07:00 AM
Have Breakfast, Read NEWS, and Be ready for school07:00 AM onwards

Evening Time Table for Study

After coming back from school have some fresh fruits to eat03:00 PM – 03:15PM
Have some rest03:15 PM – 04:00 PM
You can take a cup of tea with some snacks04:00 PM – 04:15 PM
Complete your Homework 04:15 PM – 06:15 PM
Play/sports/walk/exercise 06:15 PM – 08:00 PM
Dinner08:00 PM – 08:15 PM
Spend some time with your parents8:15 PM – 09:00 PM
You must reach your Bed By 09:00 PM

best time table for a student of class 6

Best Time Table For a Student of Class 9, 10, 11, and 12

Students of class 9 to 12 are going through an age which can make or destroy their future. At this age of their life, proper habits should be developed. For developing good habits one has to follow a proper plan and a perfect time table.

Here we are going to describe the best time table for a student of class 10, 11 and 12. This time table will also be used as the daily time table for class 9 students.

Perfect Time Table For Students – Evening

Wake Up Time05:00 AM
Finish Your Daily Routine work 05:00 AM-05:15 AM
Morning Walk or Have Some exercise (Yoga)05:15 AM-05:45 AM
Have a Bath05:45 AM to 06:00 AM
Meditation/Prayer/Worship06:00 AM to 06:15 AM
Spend some time on the revision of yesterdays work06:15 AM to 07:00 AM
Breakfast, Read NEWS and Be ready for school07:00 AM onwards

Perfect Time Table For Students – Evening

Either eat some fresh fruits or have lunch03:00 PM – 03:15PM
Take rest03:15 PM – 04:00 PM
A cup of tea with some snacks04:00 PM – 04:15 PM
Complete your Homework 04:15 PM – 06:45 PM
Play/sports/walk/exercise 06:45 PM – 08:00 PM
Dinner08:00 PM – 08:15 PM
Spend some time with your parents8:15 PM – 09:00 PM
You must reach your Bed By 09:00 PM

Many of the students consider this the best time table for a student of class 12 science stream.

The research on running performance and time of day

The bulk of the early work on circadian cycles was focused on worker productivity and sleep issues. It wasn’t until the 1980s that a body of research began to develop around maximal athletic performance.

One study from this era, conducted by Claire Baxter and T. Reilly at Liverpool Polytechnic in the United Kingdom, investigated the variability in performance over 100m and 400m all-out swims (duration-wise, roughly equivalent to a 400m and 1600m running race) over a period of several days. Swimming is conducive to this type of study because the effects of lighting, temperature, and weather can be eliminated.

Fourteen competitive swimmers were tested over the two distances at 6:30 am, 9:00am, 1:30 pm, 5:00pm, and 10:00pm. Baxter and Reilly found that swimming race times decreased steadily throughout the day 100m swims were 3.5% faster and the 400m swims were 2.5% faster at 10pm vs. 6:30 am.

The swing in times was also closely related to the change in internal body temperature, which is at its nadir at around 5am and peaks around 8 pm. Since there were no tests between 5pm and 10pm, the authors hypothesized that they may have missed the true peak in performance if it occurred at the same time as the peak in body temperature.

Studies of this type and design piled up over the years, as researchers investigated athletes of all types, even NFL football players (one study found that west coast football teams have a distinct advantage over east coast teams in Monday Night Football matchups). Unfortunately, I could not find any good studies on well-trained runners.

But a pair of review studies published by another group of researchers in the UK in 2005 sifted through the reams of research to identify overall trends. In the first, Drust et al. methodically demonstrate that performance in skill-based activities, like serving a tennis ball or balancing on one leg, is higher in the morning, while performances in strength and endurance-based activities steadily follows the body’s internal temperature, peaking in the early to mid-evening.

Peak performance and body temperature

In the second review, the same team of researchers discussed some of the more practical aspects of measuring variations in body temperature and athletic performance, and ultimately demonstrated that the rise and fall of body temperature is not so much because of differences in metabolic activity, but is from changes in blood flow to the limbs.

After you awaken, your body is in a “heat gain” mode to increase its core temperature, so the body shunts blood flow to the extremities. In the late afternoon and early evening, your body is in a “heat loss” mode and blood flow to the extremities is increased.

It’s unclear whether this is the primary cause of increased athletic performance in the late afternoon and evening, but it makes sense from a physiological point of view: in the evening, your body is already primed for shedding excess heat, which is a necessary part of exercise. We know from studies on exercise in hot temperatures that your brain appears to limit your body’s ability to perform when it can’t get rid of excess heat fast enough.

However, other factors probably play a role too, since various hormone levels are known to fluctuate throughout the day as well (a point made by Waterhouse et al.). Some additional questions arise when we begin to consider the ideal time to schedule an event in the heat: should it be in the evening, when the body’s thermal radiator is already primed? Or should it be in the morning, when there is more “headroom” between the body’s set temperature and the maximum safe temperature tolerable during exercise? This is an issue that’s yet to be resolved with research.

Something Is Always Better Than Nothing

First off, it's important to realize that, when it comes to movement, every rep, set and second will move you that much closer to your goals, says Kourtney Thomas, CSCS, a St. Louis-based trainer and strength and conditioning specialist.

In fact, according to an August 2019 analysis published in the BMJ, any exercise, for any duration and at any intensity, comes with a substantially lower risk for early death. Also, in the review, researchers note that the dose-response pattern between exercise and longevity is non-linear, meaning that going from zero to 10 minutes of exercise per day may be much more beneficial for your health than going from 60 to 70 minutes.

An October 2019 study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine came to a similar conclusion. Researchers found that any amount of running was associated with a lower risk of early death from all causes, specifically cardiovascular disease and cancer. People even benefitted from a single run a week that lasted less than 50 minutes at a pace below 6 mph.

Meanwhile, a March 2019 British Journal of Sports Medicine study shows that even 10 minutes of exercise per week is associated with a lower risk of death, including from cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer.

"A little bit of movement can truly change the course of your day, and over time, even small, but consistent, bits of it can make big improvements in how you feel and your overall health," Thomas says.

The Peak Time for Everything

Could you pack more into each day if you did everything at the optimal time?

A growing body of research suggests that paying attention to the body clock, and its effects on energy and alertness, can help pinpoint the different times of day when most of us perform our best at specific tasks, from resolving conflicts to thinking creatively.

Live Chat Recap

Most people organize their time around everything but the body's natural rhythms. Workday demands, commuting, social events and kids' schedules frequently dominate—inevitably clashing with the body's circadian rhythms of waking and sleeping.

As difficult as it may be to align schedules with the body clock, it may be worth it to try, because of significant potential health benefits. Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California. When the body's master clock can synchronize functioning of all its metabolic, cardiovascular and behavioral rhythms in response to light and other natural stimuli, it "gives us an edge in daily life," Dr. Kay says.

When it comes to doing cognitive work, for example, most adults perform best in the late morning, says Dr. Kay. As body temperature starts to rise just before awakening in the morning and continues to increase through midday, working memory, alertness and concentration gradually improve. Taking a warm morning shower can jump-start the process.

Peak Times

The ability to focus and concentrate typically starts to slide soon thereafter. Most people are more easily distracted from noon to 4 p.m., according to recent research led by Robert Matchock, an associate professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University.

Alertness tends to slump after eating a meal, Dr. Matchock found. Sleepiness also tends to peak around 2 p.m., making that a good time for a nap, says Martin Moore-Ede, chairman and chief executive of Circadian, a Stoneham, Mass., training and consulting firm.

Surprisingly, fatigue may boost creative powers. For most adults, problems that require open-ended thinking are often best tackled in the evening when they are tired, according to a 2011 study in the journal Thinking & Reasoning. When 428 students were asked to solve a series of two types of problems, requiring either analytical or novel thinking, their performance on the second type was best at non-peak times of day when they were tired, according to the study led by Mareike Wieth, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Albion College in Michigan. (Their performance on analytical problems didn't change over the course of the day.) Fatigue, Dr. Wieth says, may allow the mind to wander more freely to explore alternative solutions.

Work & Family Mailbox

Of course, everyone's body clock isn't the same, making it even harder to synchronize natural rhythms with daily plans. A significant minority of people operate on either of two distinctive chronotypes, research shows: Morning people tend to wake up and go to sleep earlier and to be most productive early in the day. Evening people tend to wake up later, start more slowly and peak in the evening.

Communicating with friends and colleagues online has its own optimal cycles, research shows. Sending emails early in the day helps beat the inbox rush 6 a.m. messages are most likely to be read, says Dan Zarrella, social-media scientist for HubSpot, a Cambridge, Mass., Web marketing firm, based on a study of billions of emails. "Email is kind of like the newspaper. You check it at the beginning of the day," he says.

Boost your mood with online socializing: Posts made to Facebook at 8 p.m. tend to draw the most 'Likes,' a Hubspot study shows.

Reading Twitter at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. can start your day on a cheery note. That's when users are most likely to tweet upbeat, enthusiastic messages, and least likely to send downbeat tweets steeped in fear, distress, anger or guilt, according to a study of 509 million tweets sent over two years by 2.4 million Twitter users, published last year in Science. One likely factor? "Sleep is refreshing" and leaves people alert and enthusiastic, says Michael Walton Macy, a sociology professor at Cornell University and co-author of the study. The cheeriness peaks about 1-1/2 hours later on weekends—perhaps because people are sleeping in, Dr. Macy says.

Other social networking is better done later in the day. If you want your tweets to be re-tweeted, post them between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., when many people lack energy to share their own tweets and turn to relaying others' instead, Mr. Zarrella says. And posts to Facebook at about 8 p.m. tend to get the most "likes," after people get home from work or finish dinner. At that time of day, they're likely to turn to Facebook feeling less stressed. "You have less stuff to do and more time to give," says Mr. Zarrella.

Best time for kickboxing? Research says it's late afternoon.

Tossing a Frisbee? Likewise

Late-night drama can be found on Twitter, where emotions heat up just before bedtime, between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., says Scott Andrew Golder, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University and co-author of the Twitter study. At that time, people tended to send more emotion-laden tweets, both positive and negative. Tired out by the workday, but also freed from its stresses and demands, people become "more alert and engaged, but also more agitated," Dr. Macy says.

When choosing a time of day to exercise, paying attention to your body clock can also improve results. Physical performance is usually best, and the risk of injury least, from about 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., says Michael Smolensky, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, and lead author with Lynne Lamberg of "The Body Clock Guide to Better Health."

Muscle strength tends to peak between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at levels as much as 6% above the day's lows, improving your ability to grip a club or racquet. Another boost for physical strength comes from the lungs, which function 17.6% more efficiently at 5 p.m. than at midday, according to a study of 4,756 patients led by Boris Medarov, an assistant professor of medicine at Albany Medical College in New York.

Eye-hand coordination is best in late afternoon, making that a good time for racquetball or Frisbee. And joints and muscles are as much as 20% more flexible in the evening, lowering the risk of injury, Dr. Smolensky says.

These body rhythms hold true regardless of how much you've slept or how recently you've eaten. In a 2007 study at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, 25 experienced swimmers did six timed trials while sticking to an artificial schedule that controlled for variables like sleep, diet and other factors. The swimmers' performance still varied by time of day, peaking in the evening and hitting bottom at around 5 a.m.

Is there a best time to eat? To keep from packing on pounds, experts say, limit food consumption to your hours of peak activity. A study in Cell Metabolism last May linked disruptions of the body clock to weight gain. Researchers put two groups of mice on the same high-calorie diet. One group was allowed to eat anytime the other group was restricted to eating only during an eight-hour period when they were normally awake and active. The mice that ate only while active were 40% leaner and had lower cholesterol and blood sugar.

While more research is needed on humans, Dr. Kay says, the research suggests that "we are not only what we eat, we are when we eat."

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at [email protected]

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How to time your day for peak performance, based on your chronotype

Knowing whether you're an early bird, night owl or somewhere in between can help you optimize your productivity throughout the day.

"All times of day are not created equal," bestselling author Daniel Pink tells CNBC Make It. "Our performance varies considerably over the course of the day, and what task to do at a certain time really depends on the nature of the task. If we look at the evidence, we can be doing the right work, at the right time."

In his new book, "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing," Pink examines the science of timing and how it shapes our behavior. He distills the latest research — from economics and social psychology to linguistics and molecular biology — to offer key takeaways on how to rework your day to be more successful.

Based on the findings of chronobiology, the study of our natural daily physiological rhythms, Pink says we all abide by a "hidden pattern of daily life" that affects our moods and, thus, our performance at work.

In a single day we go through three stages, Pink explains. This is what it looks like for most people:

  • Peak: our mood rises in the morning
  • Trough: our mood declines in the early to mid-afternoon
  • Recovery: our mood boosts back up in the early evening

Other people experience their day in the reverse set of stages: recovery, trough and peak.

The order in which you experience these stages depends on your chronotype, or your personal pattern of circadian rhythms, which determines if you're a "lark" (morning person), an "owl" (evening person), or a "third bird" (somewhere in the middle).

According to Pink, our corporate, government and education systems are designed to benefit the 80 percent of people who are larks or third birds. Owls, on the other hand, don't work as well in the typical 9-to-5 workday.

Knowing your chronotype, Pink says, is the secret to becoming a high performer.

Here's a simple exercise Pink shares to help determine if you're a lark, owl or third bird:

  1. Figure out the midpoint of your sleep cycle on what are called "free days," the days when you don't have to wake up to an alarm clock. This will most likely be on your days off or during the weekend.
  2. If your midpoint of sleep is 3:30 a.m. or earlier, you're probably a lark.
  3. If your midpoint of sleep is 5:30 a.m. or later, you're probably an owl
  4. If your midpoint is somewhere in between, you're probably a third bird

For larks and third birds, the morning is the best time to do analytical work that requires head-down, focused attention, such as strategizing, analyzing a financial statement or writing a report.

"That's the time of day we are vigilant and able to knock away distractions," Pink says.

For these larks and third birds, the trough marks a bad time of day to be productive. According to Pink, the afternoon trough can be detrimental to the quality of performance in different fields: test scores go down, there's a rise in medical errors and a decline in hand-washing, and there are more car accidents between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. than almost any other time of the day.

The chart below can help you figure out the best time of day to do different types of tasks, according to Pink's assessment of chronotypes.

Regardless of your chronotype, Pink says the trough — when your mood is low — is the best time to do more administrative work or "routine garbage," such as answering emails and filling out expense reports.

During recovery, which is later in the day for most people, our mood has boosted back up but you're less vigilant, Pink explains.

"This combination of enhanced mood while being less analytical makes a good time for brainstorming and creative work," he says.

The reverse, of course, applies to owls. They are better off making important decisions and doing analytical work in the afternoon and evening, for example.

Pink notes that chronotypes can change over time: children tend to be larks, while teens and young adults often become owls and then return to being larks later. "It's not quite as fixed as your height is, but it's strongly biological," he says.

And it pays to pay attention to your natural type and make adjustments where necessary.

"Time of day explains the 20 percent variance between who is performing well and who is not," Pink says. "Understanding this hidden pattern can allow you — or allow your boss to allow you — to do the right work at the right time, which will allow you to boost your creativity and boost your productivity."

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The bottom line

If he had to pick a best time to exercise, morning would win, Hackney says. Early workouts make the most of your biology and psychology, potentially leading to better results and adherence over time. But there’s really no bad time to exercise, Hackney reiterates, and the most important thing is finding the time to do so, whenever works for you.

“If you will do it in the morning, do it. If you will do it in the evening, do it,” Hackney says. “If your physiology is not going to match up with your behavior, then it’s a moot point.”

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