Scheduling time reminds you that your perception of time is your construction. Recognizing it as fluid and a resource to be valued results in the following:
- Your reactions to time are rooted in your circadian rhythm. Rest, light, and stress make a difference.
- Intentional wake and sleep times offer a cumulative effect on your health, well-being, and productivity.
- Goals are much better than deadlines at initiation, motivation, and encouragement.
Time is yours for the taking, using, and making. These diverse skills are made ossicle as you update your mindset and approach to time. Begin with a knowledge of how your body responds to the environment you create. Rest is critical and an important function. Get sleep, but also ensure that it’s rejuvenating. Wake up and make sure it’s productive. Utilize time as a vehicle for your goals, intentionally.
Rhythm of the Night
Circadian rhythms are endogenous. This means that they are original to you as an organism. This also means that the discussion of training your circadian rhythm is really mis-directed. What we’re really talking about is distinguishing between behaviors that comply with and those that challenge your circadian rhythm. The hardwired nature of circadian rhythm means that you will do well to learn the typical cycle. The cycle really has its origins in temperature, the release of hormones, and your body’s response to stimuli. Let’s explore the pattern. Then, let’s discuss three impacts and options you have with them.
The Pattern can be traced on a 24-hour clock. Morning (06:00) to Noon time (12:00) corresponds to a drop in melatonin accompanying wakefulness. You are your most alert at mid-morning (10:00). Noon to evening (18:00) are great times for coordinated activity. Your reaction times are the highest they are during the cycle. You are display your best coordination during that time as well. Mid-Evening (21:00) begins your melatonin secretion and your descent into sleepiness. Your deepest sleep is possible a couple of hours after midnight (00:00).
Rest is more than sleep. But take sleep if that’s all you can get. Our bodies build healthy brain function and regulate physical health while we sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep deprivation is directly tied to chronic health problems. Lack of sleep makes you irritable. Most people know that. But, it can also negatively impact your concentration limiting your ability to pay attention or complete tasks. Anger, impulsivity, sadness, and lack of motivation don’t help either.
Getting rest is allowing your body to do its work to keep you healthy. Everything from a balance of the hormones that regulate hunger (ghrelin and leptin) to hormones building muscle mass and repairing cells to hormones impacting blood sugar (insulin) are impacted when we sleep. Rest—an opportunity for deep sleep—allows your body to reset and heal. Some have suggested that turning in before midnight can boost the quality of your sleep creating a more restful and rejuvenating experience.
Light is an important component of your rhythm. Most people are familiar with the fact that darkness during sleep maintains sleep. What is less known is that exposure to sunlight or other bright light during your waking hours improves your sleep. Your sleep and rest quality can be impacted by use of devices as much as 4 hours before bedtime. Research suggests that use of devices before bed lengthens the time to fall asleep, decreases melatonin (the sleep hormone), and decreases Rapid Eye Movement called REM sleep.
Stress impacts the mixture of hormones present in your system. Stress stimulates the release of cortisol into your bloodstream. Cortisol has its hands in everything from metabolism, inflammation, memory, and blood pressure. Among persons dealing with mental health challenges related to mood show cortisol in abundance while serotonin levels are low. Cortisol and melatonin are antagonists. Melatonin helps you sleep soundly. Cortisol must decrease if melatonin can do its work. Thus, high stress and the resulting cortisol is going to keep you up potentially throwing off your circadian rhythm. Cortisol has also been linked to insomnia, weight gain, poor eating habits overall, and aggression. Intentional activities to destress are accompanied in the body by releases of dopamine and serotonin. This causes a sense of well-being that may support a healthier rhythm and quality of life.
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