Do you feel like you're always running out of time? Do you feel like you can't get everything done that you want to? You're not alone. A lot of people feel this way. But what if we told you that there is a secret to living better, and it has to do with your biological clock? Believe it or not, your body has its own natural rhythms that dictate how well you live your life. In this blog post, we will discuss the secrets to living better and how to optimize your biological clock!
What is the biological clock?
It's simple! The biological clock is an internal mechanism (yes, it happens inside our body) governed by the sequence of the hours of the day. This clock is present in all living beings, even fungi and bacteria, believe me. Its main function is to regulate all the activities of the organism.
What is the possible origin of the biological clock?
The biological clock is not new. That's because since the times of caves, literally, when our ancestors needed to come out of a dark place to hunt for their food, humans are diurnal animals. In short, they worked during the day and rested at night. Notice any resemblance?
However, using all their instinct, these ancestors drew up some survival strategies. One of them had watch shifts, that is, while one group slept earlier, the other stayed awake, avoiding attacks by predators.
It was probably at that moment that the behavioral and biological basis was forged that shapes the day and night people who are around to this day.
How does our biological clock work?
First of all, it is important to know that our main clock, which controls all biological rhythms, is in the hypothalamus. This is a structure located in the brain that, like a conductor, sends regulatory signals throughout the body at different times of the day.
However, we also have our peripheral clocks. That is, all organs and body tissues have their own clocks, which are synchronized by the main clock.
We call these biological rhythms controlled by the hypothalamus the circadian cycle. That is nothing more than our biological, natural time, which operates in a 24-hour cycle, and regulates the times of sleeping, waking up, eating, and going to the bathroom. It also establishes the production of certain hormones such as growth hormone, cortisol, and melatonin.
In general, the circadian cycle is the biological process that sets the rhythm of the existence of practically all living beings. In relation to us humans, it is mainly influenced by solar and artificial lights.
For example, if we spend a whole day in the dark, without contact with light, our biological clock will lose its sync with society's external clock. This is because our eyes detect light and send messages to the part of the brain that keeps our clocks in line.
Is that why people have different sleep rhythms, for example?
It is a fact that some people, considered "daytime", prefer to sleep and wake up earlier, having more energy and disposition during the early hours of the morning. On the other hand, "evening" people feel more willing in the late afternoon to night, preferring to sleep and wake up later.
Genetics related to the biological clock has already been extensively studied. Experts on the subject explain that light – as it is the main activator of the biological clock – induces the body to prepare itself for the period of wakefulness during the day, and rest during the night.
Therefore, people who stay awake and are exposed to artificial light at night end up forcing the body to change its natural cycle. When this happens constantly throughout life, this difference between the internal and external clocks generates great changes, making it difficult to readjust to environmental conditions.
Although chronobiology (science that studies biological rhythms) is quite complex, on one specific point all experts agree: the biological clock varies throughout life. For example, babies are often morning; teenagers, evening; adults tend towards intermediates; and the elderly go back to being morning. The important thing is that, regardless of your “type” of circadian rhythm, you should always respect it.
Practically, how does all this affect us?
The truth is that circadian rhythms give meaning to life and its cycles. After all, they allow the organism to anticipate certain events, such as night and day, winter and summer, thus being able to prepare for them.
We observe this, for example, during the annual cycle. In winter, when we have shorter clear days and, consequently, longer nights, our sleep increases and, thus, the brain releases more melatonin, the famous hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Even some experts say that we end up producing more antibodies in the winter period, in order to more effectively fight some common diseases of this season of the year.
Following this line, we know, for example, that strokes and heart attacks are more common in the morning, due to the increase in some hormones. On the other hand, asthma attacks usually appear during the night, when the caliber of the bronchi that carry oxygen to the lungs decreases. Interesting, no?
Also, the Indian doctor Suhas Kshirsagar, author of the book “Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life” says that the schedule we perform our activities determines almost everything related to health – from body weight to memory, from physical resistance to concentration, from mood to fitness.
How to live well with your biological clock
If you are keeping an eye on your physical and emotional health, it is essential to observe the synchronization of your biological clock. Let's understand how to keep your biological cycle aligned with your external tasks:
- You need to sleep well
Rest time is essential to keep your biological functions at the proper pace. Unregulated sleep can impair all these functions and put the body under constant stress. And we already know what can come from that, don't we? Bad mood, irritability, indisposition, poor concentration, and even the development of diseases.
To avoid these situations and improve your well-being, try to sleep the recommended time – 7 to 8 hours a night is ideal. Also, remember that the quality of sleep is also very important.
- Reorganize your work routines
An important recent discovery of science was the proof of the existence of one more cycle present in our body. In addition to the circadian, we have the septarian cycle, which works weekly.
Therefore, working intensely for seven days in a row, that is, throughout the week with no time off, can be quite harmful to health. How about looking closely at your work moments? Also, try to dedicate yourself to breaks and leisure.
- Food and exercise come into this!
Just as sleeping and waking up at the same time always helps to regulate your biological clock, so does a food routine. Try to have meals at similar times, but respect your body's hunger and satiety signals. Choose our prep meals, making your schedule easier and saving time for you to do what you love.
Regarding the practice of physical exercises, being able to move in places with natural light can be fundamental to the balance of your body. So enjoy!
The biological clock is a fascinating subject that can help us understand our bodies better. By respecting our natural rhythms, we can improve our overall health and wellbeing. So next time you feel out of sync, remember to check in with your body and see if there are any changes you can make to get back on track!