Unless we mess it up with long-haul travel which gives us jet lag or adopt an “always on” life style fuelled by drugs of various degrees of legality.
Canadian researchers announced last week that women’s body clocks were approximately two hours ahead of men’s, something I recently posted about.
Now Peta Bee, writing the Body + Soul section of the Times (one of my favourite weekend reads I have to say), suggests that we should pay more attention to what our body clock is telling us and optimise certain actives to enhance our health and well-being.
So here’s what she’s suggesting (you don’t have to agree with it all, I don’t but I’m just sharing the main points. Check it out for yourself for more information)
- Wake up at 7.22 am as that time minimises the level of the stress hormone cortisol
- Don’t drink coffee in the morning but wait until 3.00pm. Drinking caffeine in the morning interferes with the production of the stress hormone cortisol making you more reliant on caffeine. You’d think it would be a good thing to reduce your level of cortisol – see 1 above – and what would Italians think of that idea as they grab a quick double espresso on their ay to work.
- Go for a walk before breakfast or do yoga. Apparently heart attacks and strokes peak at 9.00 am due to our blood clotting mechanism kicking in to protect us. Doesn’t explain what to do when you have to get the kids ready for school apart from getting up even earlier – but see 1 above – not too early!
- Eat breakfast at 8.00am as this is the time your blood sugar levels stabilise. Again most of us are getting ready for the commute to school or the office, if not already en route. Eating breakfast in the car or on the train is not a good thing.
- Do your most important tasks at 11.00am. Your body temperature has risen and you probably have increased mental alertness and better working memory at this time.
- Leave your weightlifting until lunchtime. Your testosterone levels gradually drop during the day and your muscle strength is probably at its best around midday. Of course you could also be sensible and get out for something to eat (not at your desk).
- Save your bike ride until 5.00pm. Between 3.00 and 6.00pm is the best tie for endurance workouts and your long function is 18% more efficient at 5.00pm. So maybe the French know something after all with their quaint “cinq à sept” custom (look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about – but not on a Canadian website, too PC)
- Have your glass of plonk at 6.30. Apparently alcohol has less of a negative effect on your cognitive ability at this time of day rather than later when it can disrupt your sleep patterns ie zonking out with no REM stage. Not recommended after a workout (see 6 and 7 above) as it affects muscle protein synthesised. Obviously recommended if you are engaged in cinq à sept (see 7 above).
- Eat dinner at 7.00pm, having got back from your assignation with a healthy appetite no doubt, as your body is less efficient at processing and storing glucose later in the evening.
- Avoid carbs before bedtime. A load of hormones are released before dawn which causes your liver to dump glucose in your bloodstream increasing risk of diabetes.
- Go to bed before 11.00pm. In fact anytime between 9.00 and 11.00 pm when your body temperature starts to drop and your brain is preparing you for sleep.
So that’s your day planned out.