How well do we function? These days – not so well. We kind of suck at it, doing most of the things against our biological rhythms, that science also refers to as circadian rhythms.
A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings.
Circadian rhythms are important in determining the sleeping and feeding patterns of all animals, including human beings.
There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle. ~ ScienceDaily.com
“Just by making small tweaks to your schedule—such as when to have the first cup of coffee, when to answer emails, when to nap—you’ll nudge the rhythm of your day back in sync with the rhythm of your biology, and then everything will start to feel easier and flow naturally.
What do I mean by the “rhythm of your biology”?
Contrary to what you might have heard, there is a perfect time to do just about anything. Good timing isn’t something you choose, guess, or have to figure out. It’s already happening inside you, in your DNA, from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, and every minute in between. An inner clock embedded inside your brain has been ticking away, keeping perfect time, since you were three months old. This precisely engineered timekeeper is called your circadian pacemaker, or biological clock.”
~ The Power of When, Michael Breus, PhD
It was so fascinating for me to find out, after taking the quiz defining chronotypes and reading more about it in “The Power of When”, that I’m such a typical LION (Not astrology). Meaning, I love waking up before the Sun just like other typical lions, I’m most productive when the rest of the world is waking up, best time for me to do brainstorming is around 6 am, best time to drink coffee – around 8 am, best time for creative work is afternoon when I’m not that focused on the outcomes and my mind wanders easier, best time to exercise is late afternoon for strength and muscle building, best time to go to bed is definitely before 10 PM – and it goes on and on and on, describing things like when it’s best to eat, to binge, to run for weight loss or to work out for strength and muscle building, best times to have sex, to ask for a raise or to close the sale, to tell a joke, to travel, to binge-watch my favorite TV shows, to write a novel, to play music, to memorize, to present my ideas, to make a decision, to take a pill, to snack, to go on a job interview, to take a shower, to weigh myself, to do yoga or to fall in love – and the amazing part is? How precise it all is! – I figured out a lot of it doing experiments in my life, that are time and energy consuming, but what if it could be done easier? What if somebody could tell me the exact time to do things that would change the whole game – the outcomes and how I feel about them?
The book, the website with additional resources – they do exactly that!
Take the Quiz.
Get the Book.
Read it. Keep it for future reference – it’ll come in handy many many times in your life!
Here are three fascinating things for you to try now.
Did you know, that …
“Drinking coffee first thing in the morning does not wake you up, make you alert, or give you an energy boost. All it does, according to science, is raise your tolerance for caffeine so that you need to drink more and more of it to feel any effects at all. When you are about to wake up, your body releases stimulants to get your juices flowing and your heart pumping: a brew of hormones including insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol. Like most of our organs and glands, the adrenal gland (producer of adrenaline and cortisol) has a biological clock of its own. It carefully maintains the cortisol rhythm, a few cycles of releasing and suppressing the fight-or-flight hormone over the course of the day.
• If you drink coffee when cortisol level is high, the effects are nonexistent. Compared to cortisol, caffeine is weak tea. The only thing coffee does for you within two hours of waking is to increase your tolerance for caffeine.
• If you drink coffee when cortisol level is low, caffeine gently nudges your adrenals to give you a hit of adrenaline, and you will feel more awake and alert.
Scientific research and bio-time have provided a very clear schedule for coffee breaks to coincide with cortisol level dips.”
THE WORST TIME TO HAVE COFFEE
Within two hours of waking.
Within six hours of bedtime, especially if you have sleep problems, stress, or are a Dolphin.
THE BEST TIME TO HAVE COFFEE
The cortisol level dips or optimal coffee break times for each chronotype are:
Dolphin: 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. No caffeinated beverages after 2:00 p.m., including decaf coffee (yes, there is caffeine in decaf).
Lion: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.; 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Bear: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Wolf: 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. No caffeinated beverages after 2:00 p.m., including decaf.”
Fascinating isn’t it?
Drinking coffee at the wrong times might be screwing up your whole life!
Is YOUR coffee on time?
Did you know, that …
“The writing rhythm, or when you should craft emails, depends on whether you’re sending a professional communication or a personal one. Professional emails should be written at optimal times, when your mental clarity is peaking. When I open a short email, I tend to reply immediately. If I open a long email, I ignore it and hope to deal with it later. At on-peak alertness times, you won’t veer off-topic and will stay focused, concise, and to the point.
Personal emails to friends and family are best written at off-peak alertness times, when you’re more likely to ramble and do a time-consuming photo edit or comment at length on a link.
Your well-crafted emails are more likely to be opened and replied to if you hit send at strategic times. [The sending rhythm]
Weekend emails are opened and replied to at a higher percentage than weekday mailings, due to decreased “in-box competition.” Early mornings and late nights get the highest percentage of reads and replies.
If they are going to reply at all, 90 percent of people will do so within one day of receiving an email. Half will reply within one hour. Reply time is faster in the afternoon and evening and slower late at night and early in the morning.
THE WORST TIME TO EMAIL
For professional emails: very late at night.
For personal emails: mid-morning and afternoon.
THE BEST TIME TO EMAIL
Dolphin: Professional, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Personal, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Lion: Professional, 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Personal, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Bear: Professional, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Personal, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wolf: Professional, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Personal, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The author also mentions procrastination rhythm – how we and people we email are more likely to procrastinate on writing and answering to emails at certain times. – Good to know, since someone receiving your email at the wrong time might be procrastinating on replying to it right at this very moment. Maybe it’s time to choose different timing for your emails to get a better response rate instead of becoming a master of email writing.
Did you know, that …
The Simple Science How on earth did humans adopt the practice of having sex at bedtime, “where” and “when” we’re supposed to be unconscious?
One argument is that sex is a sleep aid. There is not much science to back this up. As an expert in sleep medicine, I can attest to the fact that getting in bed at night and turning off the light does bring sleep. Having fifteen to thirty minutes of sex is beside the point. Melatonin goes up when the lights go off. If you have sex with the lamps blazing, sex can delay the onset of sleep for women. Making love while fighting sleep does not increase intimacy between partners.
Only 28 percent of encounters happened because subjects felt sexual. And why would someone feel sexual between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., when the vast majority of subjects had sex? That’s when your heart rate is slow and melatonin is making you sleepy. Your body is not primed for any physical activity at this time, let alone sex. Turning your partner down night after night out of exhaustion or lack of desire can lead to hurt feelings and emotional distance. Going through the motions doesn’t engender a loving feeling, either.
Good sex, when desire is peaking and you’re physically and mentally alert, has enormous health and emotional benefits. A healthy afterglow rhythm increases circulation, oxygenates the entire body, and gives you a sense of well-being. Antibodies released during sex boost the immune system, preventing and curing minor ailments. Orgasm triggers oxytocin, elevating your mood and sense of connection to your partner all day. When oxytocin levels go up, cortisol levels go down. They’re on a seesaw. More sex, less stress—and less of all the health problems associated with stress, such as obesity, heart disease, and mood disorders. The chemical benefit of sex, that loving feeling, is too often squandered if you have sex and then fall asleep.
THE WORST TIME TO HAVE SEX
11:00 P.M. to 1:00 a.m., when 50 percent of sexual encounters happen.
THE BEST TIME TO HAVE SEX
Dolphin: 8:00 p.m.
Lion: 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Bear: 7:00 a.m. or 9:00 p.m.
Wolf: 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 p.m.”
Aren’t you wondering now that your sexual life is not exactly “working out” for you, because of bad timing?