Have you ever wondered why it’s easier for you to fall asleep at night and stay awake during the day? It’s easy to assume it’s all natural since it’s been happening for ages now. Well, you’re right as it’s all natural. However, you might be surprised to find out that it’s actually more regulated than you would think. There’s actually a biological clock running in your head that tells you when to sleep and when to wake. It’s known as the circadian rhythm. Running in your head? Let’s find out!
There’s actually a region of the brain dedicated to this. It is an area called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (or SCN), situated right above the point in the brain where the optic nerve fibers cross. The optic nerve fibers serve your eyes. This location enables the SCN to receive the cues it needs from light in the environment to help it keep time. To cut a long story short, the SCN receives more light during the day and less light at night enabling it to act accordingly. When it’s dark, the SCN receives less light, enabling it to stimulate production of the sleep hormone (melatonin) and you fall asleep. When the sun rises, melatonin secretion is inhibited, and the brain’s awake circuits resume. Oh yes, it’s that regulated! It doesn’t just stop there. The body’s clock also actually affects mood, mental alertness, hunger, and heart function although that would be a slightly different discussion. Here, we intend to learn how to use our day judiciously and healthily in accordance with the body’s clock.
Within an hour of awakening, the body’s stress hormone cortisol peaks in accordance with the circadian rhythm. What should this mean for you? It’s time to get the most difficult things for the day done. You don’t have a schedule for the day yet? Make one then. Reply those mails and messages. Make your food. Wash if you want to. Anything you do, be sure to have conquered the day with the morning, either wholly or partially. Before 12pm, you should have done a lot with the brain work. These hours from awakening down to noon are the most productive of the day.
During or after noon, take your time to relax and check your Facebook, surf your twitter. This period is when you’re most likely to get distracted hence make the best of it. By 2pm thereabouts, you should get some sleep if you can. You could get refreshed to act on other brain tasking work. Between 4-5pm, you have the best time to do those workouts you’ve been meaning to do. You might also want to complete those tasks for the day, essentially before 9pm. By 9pm, you should be on your bed. You’ll probably take some time to fall asleep so use this time to think. Work on a solution, think up new innovations and other pursuits. When you wake, your day starts again.