5 Habits That We Can Hack for Better Results
Habits are always a hot topic: how to quit the bad ones, how to form new and good ones, how to track them, and why it all matters. Some of the most common mentions go to working out, nutrition, and self-talk.
Here, at Bright Side, we became interested in the smaller habits that people don’t discuss that often. How do you break up your sleep? How impatient are you with your coffee? Here are some everyday habits that you might want to reconsider.
1. Applying deodorant during the day
Deodorant is our friend. It keeps us safe from a special kind of awkwardness in social settings, especially in places like elevators. But did you know that we should be applying it at night?
Regular deodorants don’t actually help with sweating, they just mask the odor a little. On the other hand, antiperspirant deodorants temporarily plug the sweat glands, so you sweat less intensely. The active ingredients from antiperspirants have a better chance of entering the glands at night.
2. Coffee first thing in the morning
Disclaimer: We’re not going to preach to you about giving up your morning cup of life juice. Those mugs that say, “I’ll start working when my coffee does” exist for a reason. But you should postpone it until your natural wake-up agent, cortisol, has calmed down.
In most people, cortisol levels are higher in the morning (the reverse is true for nighttime workers). When we replace cortisol with caffeine, we teach our body to become dependent on an outside factor and alter its natural cycle. To avoid that, wait 20-30 minutes after waking up before you brew a cup.
3. Using travel pillows as just pillows
Here’s something a little more lighthearted: a clever hack worthy of Bugs Bunny himself. Do you have a travel pillow? Do you have a few items that never seem to fit into your carry-on, but you really don’t want to pay for checked luggage? Pillow-pack!
Unzip your travel pillow and take out the stuffing. Replace it with smallish items, like extra shirts, underwear, small towels, socks, wipes etc. Play a little Tetris to make sure it all fits nicely, snugly, and safely. Zip your pillow back up and voilà! You get extra storage space and you keep your comfort! Depending on how much stuff you pack, you can even control how soft or firm your pillow will be.
4. Big bouts of exercise
Working out is a great thing for our health and overall mood, but for those of us who spend a lot of time sitting, the gym is not the answer. Research shows that even intense and/or longer exercise sessions won’t balance out the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.
Instead, we should opt for shorter but more frequent physical activity. Every half an hour or every hour, stand up and walk around a little. Go get a glass of water, open a window, then close it an hour later etc. The point is to reduce the length of individual “sitting sessions” and to maintain a steady level of movement throughout the day.
5. Sleeping 8 hours at once
Many of us don’t stick to the recommended 8 square hours of sleep per night. Are you simply too busy? Or does it just feel unnatural to you? If you regularly wake up in the middle of the night and want to do something else for about an hour, and then go back to sleep, good news — that’s the way to go!
Apparently, the 8 hour-sleeping block is a relatively new thing. People naturally tend to sleep in phases, roughly 4 hours each with an hour’s break in between. If you naturally wake up at night, it’s not insomnia. This is called biphasic sleep and it is more natural than monophasic sleep. Use your nightly wakefulness to do a task, talk to your SO, meditate, stretch, whatever. Then enter your second sleep half and wake up refreshed and properly energized.
Which of these habits are a part of your routine? Have you tried hacking any of them? Tell us what results you got and whether you agree with these recommendations in the comments.