How To Master Your Internal Clock

A How To Guide To Work, Sleep, and Eat Better

As many people have said before, timing is important, and they are certainly right in some cases. You may not think much about it, but it turns out that we have quite the sophisticated internal body clock that governs pretty much everything that we do without our knowledge.

The good news is that if we can understand how to leverage it we can do a lot better work, eat better and sleep better as well.

The Inner Workings

Our body clock is actually a minuscule group of cells that form our “body clock” genes. It’s in these cells where we turn on and off certain areas of our body depending on the time as well as what we are doing at the time.

This isn’t just these cells that do that, our organs do that too. They too run on a sort of timer as well. It’s from these where we can control so many things and figure out when is the best time to do certain activities.

Eating

One of the trickiest things out there for us is when is a good time to eat. Googling it can reveal a variety of diets and peoples opinions that eating late is just as good as eating earlier. That being said there are some amazing guidelines that we can follow to figure out when’s the best time to eat.

In a study done in Cell Metabolism, they tried to find out whether timing does make a difference, with all other things being equal. When they tested two groups of mice with the same diet calorie wise, one group was given 24 hour access and the others were restricted to 8 hours during peak activity.

The results found those with restricted access were 40% leaner and had less cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Sleeping

Even though some of us identify as early birds or night owls, a lot of us have fairly regular timing when sleep helps us. Professor Jim Horne from Loughborough University stated that we are designed to have not one, but two sleeps over the course of the day. One is our typical long one at night, however the other is early afternoon where our focus is starting to wane.

Some particular cultures have realized this long ago and have adapted that focus. It’s why you see in places like India, Spain, and in China where individuals will nap in the middle of the day.

The real question though is for how long these sleeps should be and looking at data it’s pretty tricky to pin point. The best answer honestly is it depends on your age.

You see, everyone generally starts off as morning people and keep that trend until they are 10 years old. From there up to 20 years old we start to wake up later until that starts to wane down as we get closer to 20. By the age of 55 we are roughly going to bed and waking up at about the same time we were when we were 10.

Furthermore the eight hour of sleep each night is a myth that Daniel Krypke has debunked with the help of a study. As for how much is needed it’s hard to say.

Working

As far as the peak time to working productively, you actually need to turn to your own individual circadian rhythms for that. The truth is we all have peaks and valleys where we are focused and productive. But the key is where do these show up?

Where they show up boils down to the type of person you are. If you are a morning person, the ideal time for you to do the heavy work is in the morning. At that time you feel fresh and more focused.

For the night owls, this time is much later in the day.

All that being said, the best time to do creative work isn’t actually during those peak times. It’s actually when your brain isn’t as efficient. It sounds crazy but it makes sense when you think about it. Remember, a lot of the greatest ideas of all time happened because the person had a shower after working for hours that day.

Give it a try and see where it takes you.