Pop a multivitamin, or nah?
Unless your doc says to, no. Research from the US National Institutes of Health concluded that there was no strong evidence that multivitamins helped, and they might hurt. Even apart from side effects, getting more of certain nutrients isn’t better, says physician and women’s health expert Dr Donnica Moore. If you’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral, take just that one, she advises.
After a night of tossing and turning, is it better to get up at your usual time and work out, or to sleep an extra hour?
Set your alarm for your usual time and exercise, says sleep specialist Michael Breus, PhD. “You need to keep your circadian rhythms in sync,” he explains, to set yourself up for a better night’s sleep tonight. If you’re so groggy and exhausted that you can’t function, however, skip the exercise. Your judgement, balance and coordination may be compromised, and it’ll feel a lot harder, Dr Breus says.
You have only 20 minutes today – do you hit the treadmill or lift weights?
Lift weights. You can target more body systems – challenging muscles and bones and revving up your metabolism – with 20 minutes of strength training than with aerobic exercise, says fitness consultant Fabio Comana.
For the best ability to concentrate, should you burn the midnight oil or wake up early and finish your work?
Split the difference and sleep an hour less at each end, Dr Breus advises. You’ll have the mental focus you need at night and the next morning. The reason: You can get four complete sleep cycles (usually 90 minutes each), with enough time in restorative stages 3 and 4 plus enough REM, when your brain moves information from short-term memory to long-term storage, Dr Breus says.
You’re feeling nauseous. Should you munch on something bland to settle your stomach, or wait?
Let your tummy relax – a snack may not quell your queasiness, advises gastroenterologist Dr Cynthia Yoshida. Instead, suck on a mint or sip on peppermint or ginger tea, if you feel up to it. Both have been found to relax the stomach and ease nausea.
For overnight, pad or tampon?
Either, if you’ll be sleeping eight hours or less. That’s how long you can safely wear a tampon – longer increases the risk of getting toxic shock syndrome, commonly caused by a build-up of staphylococcus bacteria, says gynaecologist Dr Octavia Cannon. “It’s pretty rare, but when it happens, it’s really bad,” she says. The more absorbent the tampon, the higher the risk, so if you’re bleeding heavily, wear a mega maxi pad.
Do cardio on an empty stomach or get a bit of fuel in the tank?
Eat or drink something. Doing cardio after fasting can burn a tiny bit more fat, but the downsides outweigh the benefits, Fabio Comana says. For one, running on empty can deplete the liver of glycogen (a form of stored energy), making it harder to go full-throttle. Plus, it can trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause some muscle breakdown, along with other physiological issues. Eat a combo of carbs and a little protein, up to 600kJ (150 calories), within an hour of your workout, Fabio says.