Everyone knows that they should be eating healthy, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and getting regular health checks, however the reality is people forget and get out of a habit of completing these tasks.
Researchers from the University of Nice in France have now completed a research study to investigate the best way of people sticking to their habits. 48 subjects were split into two groups and all instructed to complete a hip flexor stretch. All the subjects were asked to do the same stretch for the same period of time each day. The only difference was that one group were asked to perform the stretch when they woke up in the morning and the other group before bed. All the subjects had similar work and sleep cycles. Cortisol was also measured by saliva samples in this simple study, which can fluctuate during the day and impact memory and the ability to form habits. Cortisol is highest in the morning and lowest before bed, so that the body can recover. Cortisol is deemed a stress hormones whereby it can impact on weight, diabetes and alter progress.
Interestingly, the group that stretched in the morning formed the habit very easily and had 2 months after the other group before they needed prompting to do the exercise. The researchers attributed this to the higher cortisol levels found in the morning group, since it is known to be associated with memory formation and habits.
Therefore, if you want to make an exercise a habit, this study shows you should complete it when you wake up not before bed.