We all do what we can to be our best selves, but the truth is, our body plays by a certain set of rules we can’t totally control. Better said, it’s working on a timeframe we can't fully control known as the circadian rhythm. (The roughly 24-hour cycle is aptly named: circa means “about,” dian means “day.”)
The Huffington Post took a quick dive into the world of the body’s internal clock, which was observed and recorded early on by Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan in the 18th century. In short, all living things have an internal schedule and perform most efficiently when keeping in tune with that hardwired ticker. Our individual organs even have their own clock genes, but the whole system is under the tutelage of the suprachiasmatic nucleus—a pair of nuclei in the brain that regulate the circadian rhythm through light analysis.
Light isn't the only factor though. Eating or working out at weird times can confuse your body. As neurologist Chris Winter says in the video above, the biological system functions best when it can anticipate activities, which means that keeping a schedule is of the utmost importance (and explains why travel can really throw you for a loop).
It’s not just about optimal performance—being in tune with your body’s clock is important for avoiding things like insomnia, obesity and depression. If possible, wake when its light, work out in the a.m., think your big thoughts during mid-morning, eat during the hours you’re active, and start to wind down when the sun sets.
Images via YouTube // The Huffington Post