Falling into a routine is often seen as a negative thing, but science has shown that it can aid your wellbeing and overall health if your body knows what to expect each day. Here’s some tips from the experts about how to optimise and streamline your daily routine, leaving you more time to focus on what’s really important to you.
Hold off on the caffeine
Don’t be panicked by that heading - it’s just for an extra hour. When we wake up, our bodies naturally start pumping out the hormone cortisol. This acts as a sort of natural caffeine, and peaks for most people around 8.30am each morning.
When we double down on coffee in the morning, we’re actually blunting our natural cortisol’s effects, meaning on days where we can’t get our hands on a cup, we’re unable to process it as well. Give it an extra hour and you’ll get a double hit of wakey-wakey.
Make your breakfast - and lunch - count
Protein, fibre, healthy fats. That’s all you need in your breakfast, and yet we’re surrounded by refined carbs that get rapidly turned into sugar. Bagels, cereals and juices are processed and craved for by our bodies as if they’re desserts - and yet eating cake for breakfast every day would seem rather indulgent even for the most liberal of eaters. Nutritionists advise eggs, avocados, Greek yoghurt and nuts - they’ll fill you up, aid digestion and get your muscles ready for the day ahead.
Your lunch should follow this pattern, too. Helping you fuel up rather than slow down, avoiding carb-heavy lunches and instead opting for protein, fibre, whole grains and healthy fats should see you have energy even through the 4pm slump. Once you get into this habit, your energy levels should be elevated, giving you an extra little spring in your step.
Take public transport
Good for the environment, great for your immune system. A team of geneticists documented all the bacteria on the New York City subway in 2015, turning up 600 species of microbes - all of which were perfectly harmless.
In fact, the study showed that regular exposure to other people’s germs actually helped keep immune systems healthier than those that were hidden away from other people’s sneezes. Try and take it at least a few times a week to feel the benefits.
Clean your sheets more than you think
While a little helping of other people’s germs is no bad thing, swaddling in your own germs every night is not so good for your immune health. Within a week, our beds can go from a fresh sheet haven to a ‘botanical park’ of bacteria and fungus according to New York University.
Sweat, pollen, soil, lint, dust-mites, dander… and various other microscopic nasties can contribute to allergies and illnesses, so getting into the habit of changing your sheets once a week can help alleviate all sorts of under-the-rader maladies.