Tuesday is the middle child of weekdays. It doesn’t have the automatic high profile of Monday or Friday, but it’s just as impactful in its own way. Here’s what research says about the Tuesday effect.
First, the bad news: Monday is the most-maligned day of the week, but there’s evidence that Tuesday morning blues may actually be more pervasive.
One study, published in the journal Applied Psychology, analyzed the content of hundreds of millions of tweets posted on Twitter over 500 consecutive days. The researchers found a midweek dip in tweets about positive emotions, starting on Tuesday and continuing through Thursday. Intuitively, that makes sense. By midweek, work stress is piling up, and the rest and recovery experienced over the weekend is wearing off.
Data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index support this view. Survey participants were asked whether they had felt specific emotions during “a lot” of the previous day. It’s no surprise that people reported being happiest on the weekends. Only 44 percent said they felt a lot of happiness or enjoyment on Tuesdays – the lowest percentage for any day.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of good news to balance the bad. Evidence suggests that Tuesday may be a particularly auspicious day for the following activities.
Driving safely: Motor vehicle accident deaths are least common on Tuesdays, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In contrast, such deaths are more common on weekends – a finding likely tied to increased alcohol consumption.
Sleeping well: The most efficiently restorative sleep generally occurs on Tuesday nights, based on data from Firstbeat, a physiological analytics company. That may be partly because midweek sleep is less likely to be disturbed by alcohol than weekend sleep.
Eating wisely: Even health-conscious individuals sometimes overindulge in french fries and beer over the weekend. But a new week represents a fresh start. That may be why Americans eat the most quinoa, brown rice, and kale on Mondays, followed closely by Tuesdays, according to data from Jawbone, a consumer technology and wearable device company.
Hitting the gym: Exercise follows the same pattern in Jawbone's research. And the numbers tell a similar story among subscribers to ClassPass, a service providing access to fitness studios and gyms. For these subscribers, Tuesdays are the peak day for working out.
Weighing yourself: One study in the journal Obesity Facts looked at long-term patterns in daily weight fluctuations. Overall, people’s weights tended to start rising on Saturdays and start falling again on Tuesdays. Those who showed this pattern of compensating on weekdays for weekend excesses were more likely to either lose weight or maintain a steady weight over time.
Having a baby: Although this isn't a benefit relevant to everyone, it’s still a fascinating fact: Tuesday is the day when the greatest number of U.S. babies are born, CDC data (pdf table) show. In 2014, there were 12,630 births on an average Tuesday –16 percent more than the overall daily average. That's just one more reason to love the most underrated day of the week.
How do you feel about Tuesdays – best day, worst day, or somewhere in between? Share your thoughts in a Comment below.