I used to think that I was more productive at night. I was a night owl and that was my nature. But the reality was that I just wasn't more productive at night, I was was just not productive during the day. Constant prostration and distractions meant that I was forced to work at night. Racing through work at night made me 'more productive' because it was purely out of desperation in order to get some sleep- that was my deadline.
The fact is: we're hard-wired to follow the rhythms of nature.
We used to live our lives in accordance with the Earth's orbit around the sun. Each season, as well as the lunar cycles, varied our activities and the meals we ate. In fact, a woman's menstrual cycle is around every 28-30 days, which also follows the moon's orbit around the earth. It's all connected.
To live in sync with the rhythms of nature, we adapted to the changing seasons and relied on our finely tuned senses. We respected our bodies' fundamental and cyclical nature, which was to rise with the sun, undertake daily activities until twilight, retire for the night, sleep, and rise with the sun again.
Despite the fact that modern civilisation has thrown many stumbling blocks in the way of this cycle, our bodies are nonetheless hard-wired to follow it.
Circadian rhythms, which run on a 24-hour cycle, control when we feel drowsy, when we wake up, and when we perform numerous body functions. Every major function in the body is controlled by circadian rhythms, which include hunger, digestion, blood sugar, respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels—and sleep.
Your "master clock" that regulates circadian rhythms is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus located in the hypothalamus.
The Body When the Sun Rises:
Differences in temperature and light effect the way your body releases hormones and regulates temperature, metabolism, sleep, and mood.
When the sun rises the body:
1) Increase cortisol production: making you feel more awake and alert.
This is because it is a hormone that is responsible for your body's energy and fight or flight. It also prepares your body's and metabolism to get up and going.
2) Decrease in melatonin production: making you feel less sleepy.
This is because it is a hormone responsible for preparing and calming your body down for it to rest.
Our circadian rhythm was thrown off balance with the invention of the lightbulb as well as long work hours, unpredictable sleep cycles, everyday sensory overload, and excessive stress.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation has lead to an increase in blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, higher risk of cancer development and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. You can read more about the importance of sleep and sleep in general here.
The natural circadian rhythms can become out of sync when your body clock is interrupted, resulting in a cascade of physiologic effects.
To learn more about the the daily practices to improve sleep quality, check out this blog.
Wishing you a close connection with natures clock.