10 Tips on Right Time of Day for Your Personal Best By Eve Abbott,the Organizer Extraordinaire Excerpted from her new book "How to Do Space Age Work with a Stone Age Brain" TM
Can choosing which time we do an activity really make a difference in our performance?
Have you ever wondered what would be best time of day (or week) to do different kinds of work? Every person's internal clock runs on Human Circadian Timeline. Except those who have been on graveyard shift for years!
This is schedule by which our body systems (including our brain) 'take care of business'. Every work day is divided into cycles that match our naturally heightened abilities - both physically and mentally.
The trick is to take advantage of identifying and using this information to schedule your work and life activities accordingly.
Circadian rhythms are present at birth and body temperature cycle emerges between 6 to 9 months for infants. By age of three adrenal system is coordinating a complete daily cycle or timeline.
The adrenal glands in coordination with our pituitary, hypothalamus, pineal glands control both our internal clock and our stress reaction.
This means our stress levels are in direct proportion to how far off we are from our natural time cycle.
Body temperature cycle doesn't vary so much from person to person. But, studies show our natural rhythms do shorten as we age. Mental conditions like depression in which sleep disturbance is common and physical illness of any kind disrupt daily cycle.
However, healthy people keep their innate circadian cycle throughout their life.
Although each body system has its own rhythm, generally cell replacement peaks between noon and nine pm. The skin and liver are only organs which replenish worn out tissues with new ones at night and this process peaks by midnight.
The brain is only organ that functions without cell replacement - So, we'd better take better care of one we have!
Setting Your Internal Clock To work and live at our best, we need our internal circadian rhythm in harmony or synchronized with environmental cues (i.e., light and dark, temperature etc).
Human beings grow faster, produce more offspring, enjoy better health, do better work and live longer when time setting environment cycles match.
This makes it easy to understand fact that graveyard shift (midnight to eight am) workers experience more accidents than day and evening shifts combined. Also, more of worst auto accidents occur after midnight. Our bodies 'know' we should be asleep!
One night of short sleep does not affect overall performance. However, several nights of sleep deprivation leads to dull sensory perceptions (vision, hearing etc.). Plus, longer reaction time, slower motor coordination, reduced memory retrieval, combined with lowered new memorization ability, as well as increased irritability.
These are exactly functions we need to do good work - including decreased irritability.
Light is number one influence… and most powerful internal clock setting factor for most life on our planet. Obviously, different mammals have different clocks; cats are active at night and sleep all day and people are active during day and sleep at night.
Reportedly, no one had heart attacks prior to 1800s (then, city dwelling and rise of industrial work using artificial light).
Number two influence is temperature… For example, people's sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or dream cycles are disturbed and they awake more often when sleeping temperature is above 75 degrees.
When sleeping temperature is below 65 degrees dreams become unpleasant and contain emotional conflict. Working in a cold room increases your chances of a repetitive stress injury.
Number three is eating. Did you know that Japanese people who are most Americanized have five times heart disease compared to those who practice more traditional cultural habits and diet?
Number four is sounds for most species. As you might expect, sound is an especially strong factor for auditory dominant learners like myself. Studies have indicated that among people living under airport approach route there is a thirty percent higher rate of admissions to mental hospitals.
Exercise Regular exercise increases everyone's cognition capability and releases stress from our bodies. For most men, best time to exercise is in afternoon. Women who exercise in morning raise serotonin levels, which prompts a positive mental state.
If you exercise in evening it disturbs natural slowing down cycle leading to sleep. So a good thing like exercise can be even better if you know best timing. If only time you can exercise is afternoon - go ahead!