Is the Middle of the Day the Best Time to Exercise?

There’s a lot of speculation as to the optimum time of day to reap the most benefits from exercise. A recent study, however, shows that our muscles may respond best in the middle of the day.

Get Your Groove On

No matter what any study reports, exercise will be beneficial any time of day. As long as you show up and do the work, your body will love you for it. This information from this particular research will help those wanting to reap maximum benefits from a workout—whether you’re someone who hits the gym four times a week or if you’re a seasoned athlete.

Circle, Canadian, Cartha…What?

Researchers at Northwestern University discovered that cell metabolism is regulated by a person’s circadian rhythm. Your circadian schedule is basically your 24-hour inner clock. It informs your body when it is awake time or sleep time (and vice versa.)

It turns out that muscle tissue also responds to this inner clock. Energy efficiency, then, peaks for each individual (human) during the day. As part of the research, they studied nocturnal animals and their muscle responses. For them, logically, their finest hours of energy efficiency were in the middle of the night.

Breathing, Awake Muscles

As we carry on throughout our day, our energy levels will be more efficient than in the evening, for example. That’s not to say that you can’t workout at night. You can. And even then, your body’s metabolism will remain faster for hours afterwards. It’s just that burning energy and oxygenizing muscle cells won’t be at their peak.

It appears that muscle cells can utilize energy best (in humans) in the daytime. Exactly what time will vary according to each person’s personal circadian rhythm.

Muscle Performance

It’s true that if you workout in the morning, you will reap the benefit for hours as your day continues. Exercise raises your metabolism.

The researchers of this particular experiment believe that when your muscle cells are optimally oxygenated, the perks of exercise are even greater. So, depending on the time of day, along with glucose and then the generation of lactic acid, your workout could be fantastically phenomenal.

Other Benefits

Although this theory will require further studies, it’s an interesting look into how to possibly manipulate oxygen and sugar levels in muscles. That is something that could eventually lead to an alternative approach to treatment for diabetes.

It could also become a strategy for serious and professional athletes. Finding out their optimum time of day when to train could increase their performance potential.

Regardless of if you exercise for personal fitness, or if you push your body for sports or other training, taking the time—whatever time of day—is what’s most important. Get the job done.

Magnesium for Sleep May Finally Get You the Rest You Need

Forty percent of Americans claim they suffer from insomnia. Within that number, there is a large percentage of people who regularly have trouble sleeping. Alas, a natural supplement may just be the ticket you need to slumber throughout the night. As a result, magnesium for sleep may help your body and mind get the rest it needs.

Tic, Tock, Tic, Tock…Why Can’t I sleep?

There are many reasons why someone may experience insomnia. Some of the most prevalent are:

  • Anxiety from day-to-day concerns
  • Chronic stress from emotional trauma
  • Clinical depression
  • Physical Pain
  • Too much caffeine
  • Alcohol use
  • Medications
  • Eating too late or too much

In addition, another significant factor is an imbalance. The imbalance lies in our internal clock. You may need more magnesium. Seems like a magnesium deficiency can be the cause for this imbalance.


How Does Magnesium Fit in?

Our internal clock manages our sleep-wake cycles. This timekeeper is also called the circadian clock. Each person has his/her own internal rhythm. Hence, this is the reason why some people are early birds. And, others are night owls, for example.

The University of Edinburgh published the results of a study. The focus was on magnesium levels in human cells. It was discovered that the level in cells went up and down over a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Also, it appeared that higher levels of magnesium improved cellular function. The circadian clock became more balanced.

With lower levels of magnesium, cells are unable to process energy with optimum efficiency. The amount of the element found in our cells is linked to how and when we burn energy. Most notably, it directly relates to our sleep-wake cycles. Then, it follows that it would be beneficial to have a plentiful amount of magnesium for sleep.


What’s the Best Way to Get Magnesium?

The best way to get any vitamin, nutrient, mineral, or element into your body is through a natural food source. Here are some suggestions:


  • Spinach and other leafy greens can contain almost 40% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for magnesium



  • Black beans contain 20% of the RDI


  • Almonds, cashews, and brazil nuts contain 15% of the RDI


  • Bananas, fatty fish, and some whole grains contain approximately 10% of the RDI for magnesium


Now to Get to Sleep…

Another common way to get the magnesium your body needs is through supplementation. The National Institutes of Health currently recommends approximately 320 mg a day for women over the age of 30. However, dosage can vary.

Always check with your health care provider before taking supplements. If you’re on any type of medications, certain vitamins and minerals can interfere with absorption or create side effects.

When choosing supplements (and food), try to shop organic. The quality will make a difference. As for magnesium for sleep, there are also teas available to help soothe and assist with a restful night.

In conclusion, our cells require magnesium. We especially need it to balance our sleep-wake cycles. Getting the amount you need from food, pill or liquid supplements, or even tea will help get your internal clock back into tip-top shape. Sweet dreams!

Check out Get Thrive! for more articles on sleep, supplements, and best health practices.



Are You Just Sad or Suffering From SAD?

SAD is the acronym for the clinical diagnosis Seasonal Affective Disorder. You may be feeling slightly out of sorts or, more seriously, downright depressed. Reviewing a list of signs and symptoms may help you better understand if you’re just having a few crummy days or actually suffering from a mood disorder.

A SAD Description

It’s kind of a funny term for something that describes what could be a serious condition. SAD is described as a type of depression that’s linked to change in seasons. It’s not a simple as, “Oh, it’s cold and snowing, now I’m depressed.”

SAD is a subtype of major depression.

The change in seasons affects us biologically. Our internal clock (circadian rhythm) can be disrupted from a decrease in sunlight. Serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) levels can drop from less sun exposure during short winter days. Both of the above scenarios can trigger feelings of depression.

Losing sleep and changes in sleep patterns can also lead to mood disorder. Seasonal change can also affect melatonin levels, which help guide us through a proper night’s rest.

SAD in the Winter

In most SAD cases, a person’s symptoms begin in late fall and continue throughout the winter. It’s sometimes referred to a winter depression. Some sources claim holiday stress can also trigger the onset of this type of disorder.

Here are some symptoms that may accompany winter SAD:

  • Fatigue and very low energy
  • Overeating, carb cravings, and/or weight gain
  • Wanting to be alone most of the time
  • Feeling depressed every day
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hypersensitive to rejection

Young people are more prone to winter SAD than spring or summer. Conversely, older adults are less likely to experience winter SAD than moodiness in other seasons.

SAD in the Springtime

There are considerably less diagnosed cases of spring-summer SAD than winter. The signs and symptoms also vary. Some markers are:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Feeling hopeless and depressed
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Violent outbursts
  • Thoughts of suicide

What are the Chances When You Experience Symptoms?

SAD is not a condition you should just brush off as trivial. If you’re suffering from clinical depression, consider it a real and significant mental health challenge.

Far more women are diagnosed with SAD then men. However, men present more-severe symptoms.

If depression runs in your family, you’re more likely to be susceptible to SAD or another type of depression. If you’re already clinically depressed or suffer from bipolar disorder, your symptoms may worsen during seasonal change.

What To Do if You’re Feeling Sad

Typical sadness does not last most of the day, everyday, for weeks or months. If you’re experiencing the above symptoms or feeling chronically sad, check in with yourself and review what might have been the trigger.

If you have (or can get) access to a mental health provider, it would be worth making contact. You can look online for resources or ask your general physician for referrals.

Conquering depression is possible. There are many options available to assist in recovery. Start off by eating fresh foods, getting some form of exercise daily, and a solid eight hours per night of sleep. Get your body healthy, which in turn will help heal your mind.

Beyond that, there’s counseling, psychiatry, support groups, homeopathic remedies, and for some cases, prescription medicines. You got this!

For other informative articles on best mental and physical health, see



Ladies, Here’s Why We’re Yawning at Noon

A new study points out that women have more difficulty staying asleep than men… And gender difference in the human body clock is the reason why.

Rock Around the Clock

The research conducted out of Montreal; Canada showed that women’s circadian clocks operate at a quicker pace than men’s. Our circadian rhythm is the natural process that registers time for our greatest awake and sleep hours over the course of a day (24 hours).

Because women’s internal clocks run faster, their clock is shifted earlier, eastward. This accounts for them not being able to remain in a deep sleep in the early morning hours. This may be one reason why we get awoken more easily than men—and then get tired in the middle of the day.


The sleep signal in the typical circadian rhythm is the strongest between two and four in the morning. But Dr. Diane Boivin (lead author on the study) points out that women’s sleep-wake cycle run about two hours ahead of men’s. That means at three a.m. a woman’s sleep signal may not be as strong as originally supposed.

In the wee hours of the morning, getting woken up can disturb a true, restful sleep. As the results of this study determined, women are more prone to be distracted by a baby crying, a pet needing to go out, or even creaky noises in the house. This can make for a cranky mama later sometime in the daylight hours.

The Study

Over the course of 36 hours, both men and women were observed in a controlled environment. There were each placed in a room without windows. They were allowed one-hour of sleep followed by one-hour of awake time for the entire study period. Researchers put the lights on dim during awake time and shut them off during “naps.”

Changes in melatonin levels, body temperature, sleep, and alertness were all monitored and measured. The men’s and women’s habitual bed and wake times were similar, yet the women’s circadian clocks differed. Women appeared to be less alert at night compared to men. According to a UCLA sleep expert, “…women are falling asleep when their brain and body are more prepared for sleep. But, they’re having a difficult time staying asleep later in the night.”


If this sounds anything like your pattern, there are some helpful recommendations. Examine your sleeping environment. Remove elements that could disrupt your sleep during those more “fitful” hours. For example, do not keep your phone or computer in the bedroom. Eliminate possible dings or rings. Share the responsibility of attending to kids or pets with your partner—maybe choose “mommy-full-night-sleep days of the week.” Getting rest is essential to your health. May your circadian clock be on time and allow you to wake feeling rested.

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