Have a cavity filled in the afternoon
The painkilling effect of dental anesthesia lasts longer in the afternoon than it does in the morning. In one study, lidocaine kept nerves numb up to five times longer when it was injected in the early afternoon compared with early morning. Don't miss these 11 home cures for toothaches.
Check your blood pressure in the morning and at night
As a general rule, blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day—it hits its lowest point around bedtime and it’s highest when you wake in the morning, says J. David Glass, PhD, a circadian biologist at Kent State University. If you’re keeping an eye on your blood pressure to help your doctor decide whether you need medication, you could get an inaccurate picture by taking your reading just once a day. “If you’re measuring it yourself, it’s best to do it in the morning and evening,” Glass says. “Be sure to do it at the same times each day—don’t bounce around.” Taking the two readings could make the difference between your doctor prescribing blood pressure drugs and advising you to stick with diet and exercise, he says. Here's what else doctors don't tell you about healthy blood pressure.
Weigh yourself on Friday and Monday
For those trying to lose weight, experts have long suggested stepping on the scale at least once a week—that’s the habit of most members of the National Weight Control Registry, every one of whom has taken off at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a year or more. Now research from the Washington University School of Medicine ratchets things up. Dieters tend to splurge on weekends, the research found—but a Friday weigh-in (especially done first thing in the morning, when your weight is lowest) provides positive feedback that can blunt the temptation to overeat, says lead study author Susan Racette, PhD. And getting back on the scale on Monday can help you correct your course quickly if you’ve strayed, she says. These are reasons your scale might be wrong.
Eat dinner earlier
Recent research supports the folk wisdom that nighttime eating is more apt to add pounds. In one study, researchers fed one group of mice during their normal waking hours and a second group when the animals usually slept. The mice that ate at the “wrong” time gained more than twice as much weight. “If you think you’re doing everything right with your diet but you’re not losing, try having dinner an hour earlier,” says lead study author Deanna Arble, at Northwestern University. “It won’t hurt, and it might help.”
Exercise in the evening
If you want to get fit faster, a late-day workout is the most efficient way to go. Research by Michael Deschenes, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, shows that strength and endurance climb by about 5 percent between 4 and 8 p.m., compared with morning hours, so you can push yourself harder. Your muscles are warmer, too, which will help you avoid injury.
Take preventive medicines in the evening
Research suggests that a daily aspirin is less likely to cause stomach bleeding when taken late in the day. It’s even possible that this timing could protect you better. The reason: Your risk of heart attack spikes in the morning (the danger is nearly three times higher between 6 a.m. and noon than during the rest of the day). Aspirin helps cut clot risk by reducing platelet “stickiness”—a single tablet will take care of a platelet for its entire ten-day life span. But new platelets are being made all the time. Taking your aspirin at night ensures that you’ll have plenty of the drug to defang newly minted platelets during those potentially dangerous morning hours. Everyone should memorize these silent signs of a heart attack.
Get an extra hour of sleep next time you set the clock ahead
Nothing says spring is coming like the hour of sunlight you gain when daylight saving time begins—but your heart might pay for that pleasure. Swedish researchers have seen a 5 percent jump in heart attacks during the first week of daylight saving time, probably because of the loss of sleep and the disruption of bodily cycles. Next year, it may be beneficial to get to bed earlier on the night you switch your clock.
Get tested for asthma in the morning
Airways naturally become more constricted and inflamed in the dead of night (between 2 and 5 a.m.), so asthma attacks are most likely to strike then. “If you go to your doctor first thing in the morning, you’re likely to have a diagnostic test that’s most representative of your condition when it’s at its worst,” says Michael Smolensky, PhD, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. (Your doctor may also ask you to use a peak flow meter at home so you can test yourself at your wheeziest.) Because women are most prone to severe asthma flare-ups on the days before their period, that’s also a good time to monitor symptoms and keep meds handy. Get familiar with these surprising asthma triggers.
Take allergy medication in the evening
Hay fever symptoms such as runny nose, scratchy throat, and sneezing typically are at their worst in the morning. What helps for most people: taking medication at bedtime, says Richard Martin, MD, at National Jewish Health in Denver.
Go for walks in the evening
Not only do many people with allergies experience more sneezing and itching in the morning, but many trees release their pollen at first light, and ragweed pollen tends to fly most thickly at midday—so stick to nighttime strolls.