You’ve all heard about body clocks and thought about whether you’re a lark or an owl.
Looking through my archive of “interesting’ stuff I might use one day I came across an article in the Guardian Weekend by Peta Bee about how to plan your day according to your body clock.
0600-0700 Wake up. Our internal body clocks are programmed to go off after 7-8 hours sleep. With daylight the production of sleep-producing hormones, such as melatonin (now used to treat jet lag), slows down.
This raises your body temperature to make you more active until, in the late evening between 10-11 pm, your heart rate slows, stress hormones drop, and your sleep hormones kick in to make you drowsy.
By early morning, 3 – 4 am your alertness and body temperature drops to its lowest levels before your body clock kicks in a few hours later to wake you up. That’s according to Dr Michael Smolensky at the Chronobiology Centre at the University of Texas.
0800 -0900 Eat your breakfast. Your body is ready to digest food most efficiently and a healthy breakfast with carbohydrates will stave off food cravings and improve your mood for the day according to scientists at Leeds University.
0815 Work out. Exercise in the morning is more likely to boost your mood with double the level of well-being experienced by people who exercised in the evening, according to research at Glasgow University.
1000 & 1400 Snack. Regular mealtimes help your metabolism to work more efficiently according to researchers at Nottingham University. People who do this consume fewer calories and burn them faster. Eating every 3 to 4 hours helps control blood sugar levels.
1600-1900 Eat main meal. Eating the major part of your food intake in the evening is controversial but it could improve your health. According to scientists at the American National Institute on Ageing it mirrors the pattern of hunter gatherers who swung between feast and famine. In some parts of the world however, eg in Lithuania, the main meal is taken at lunchtime.
2130 Take Aspirin. Taking pills at the right time can boost their efficacy and minimise side effects according to research at the American Medical Association. Aspirin taken before bed-time can reduce your blood pressure. Osteoarthritis is worse in the evenings and asthma attacks far more likely (like x 300 times) between 0200 and 0600. As your blood pressure starts to increase in the early hours you are more likely to have a burst blood vessel then. But check with your doctor before you start making changes.
Research at Harvard found that the most dangerous times for coronary events including strokes were in the last stages of sleep and in the morning. The risk was 40% higher between 0600 and noon and 3 times higher between 0600 and 0900. Our body clock really does have a major impact on our health so it’s better to work with it than against it.
Source: Guardian Weekend 18/3/06 plus others