In the U.S., Sundays in autumn can be dominated by football and Netflix. While that sounds fun, it might also be too much time in front of the screen. Want to find a better, more healthful way to spend your extra time? Here are a few science-backed ideas for making the most of a longer-than-usual Sunday – from sex to cooking and everything in between.
1. Catch more Zs
Sleep is a crucial for the body to perform at an optimum level.
A complete night’s rest bolsters the immune system, fights obesity, improves exercise and helps you work more efficiently, as it markedly improves the ability to recall information and learn a new task. And when most of us get less than the recommended 7-9 hours, we’re cranky, groggy and exhausted, which is less than fun.
If you are already in bed at 2 a.m. this Sunday, just keep sleeping. If you’re hitting the town, make sure you have no obligations the following morning. The extra hour from DST is a perfect opportunity to give your body a much needed additional hour of rest.
2. Meal. Prep.
Carving out time early on in the week to cook a few dishes to eat during short-on-time weekdays can help you save money and eat healthful, more elaborate meals. Research also shows that people who cook live longer, and cooking is an easy way to reduce the amount of salt, fat and extra calories that come along with takeout.
3. Go for a stroll
Turning the clocks back an hour allows for long, bright mornings. It is the perfect time to get up early a couple times a week and enjoy a walk outside, or take a stroll on a weekend afternoon.
A regular walking habit is associated with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and cardiovascular strength. A simple walk is also proven to lift your mood, even when you don’t expect it to. Researchers have also found that a walk in nature can help the mind from dwelling on negative thoughts.
4. Have sex
Guys, c’mon, it’s a whole extra hour this weekend to do the Sunday morning thing Maroon 5 so eloquently sang about in 2002. Seriously, sexual pleasure literally puts you in a trancelike state, according to new research from scientists at Northwestern University.
And further research suggest people who get between the sheets more often are more easygoing. Use the extra hour to have sex and build intimacy with your partner, then get dressed and go out for breakfast.
Ideal Sunday = made.
Whether your goal is simply to calm down, or tied to a larger spiritual practice, just a few minutes of meditation is a healthy thing to do.
Maybe you won’t devote the entire extra hour, but set 5-10 minutes aside to close your eyes and focus on the breath. Just last year researched found that meditation and mindfulness keeps the brain young, turns down the biological response to stress, is an effective treatment for insomnia and reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease and depression.