The Morning Text 10/25

An Educational Newsletter

GOOD MORNING!

Welcome to The Morning Text! 

Too tired to go the the gym but still want to get fit while sitting? There’s a solution! Banging your head against a wall burns about 150 calories an hour! But don’t stop there! If you did that for four hours every day you would burn 4200 calories a week! That’s about a pound right there! Ditch that workout routine for some good ol’ self inflicted pain and see the abs by next week! Disclaimer: don’t actually do this unless you want to die.

I’ve noticed a correlation, the sleepier I am, the more likely I am to write about sleep related things. So guess what, I’m writing about circadian rhythms today. 

Circadian Rhythms are our bodies’ natural clocks. They determine everything from alertness, to sleepiness, to blood pressure, and to melatonin secretion.

The length and regulation of Circadian rhythms are often determined by the natural light that our world provides. They typically run from between 21-27 hours long but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just assume that yours is exactly 24 hours. For this application, we have to assume that you sleep based on the natural light that you’re given. 

As far as sleep goes, we will get the best sleep from between 2-4 am. If you are awake at that time, then you will feel the greatest urge to sleep at this time. Second to this, we feel a great urge to sleep between 2-3 pm, indicating that naps are actually better for us. Now, this may seem counterintuitive, and you say that until you have a meeting or take a class at 2 pm. So don’t let anyone tell you that you’re lazy for taking naps. There is no species on earth, save humans, that sleeps for only one block a day. 

You are most alert at 10 am, have the best reaction time at 330 pm, have the greatest muscle strength at 5 pm and (if you’re awake) have the best coordination time at 230 pm.

Our body even has set times that it secretes melatonin. Now, melatonin is our sleepy chemical. Yes, there are many things that make you want to sleep, biology may be one of them, but melatonin is the biggest one. Your body will naturally secrete melatonin to make you feel more sleepy. When people take melatonin supplements (which you can buy over the counter) they aren’t taking sleeping pills, instead think of them as sleep regulators. Based on a 24 hour circadian rhythm, your body begins secreting melatonin at 9 pm and stops secreting it at 730 am.

As for physiological symptoms, your blood pressure will be its highest at 630 pm immediately followed by your highest body temperature at 7 pm. Your lowest body temperature however will be at 430 am, right after your sleepiest time. Closely following you will see the sharpest rise in blood pressure at 645 am. 

Now that I’ve thrown a bunch of times all over the place, let’s put together your most effective day based on your needs as determined by the circadian rhythm. 

If you want to study, the best time start that is 10 pm. If you want to play a sport that takes more coordination (tennis), you will perform best at 230. If you play a sport that takes more reaction time (baseball or even video games) then 330 is the best time for you. If you want to go lift weights or play football, you’ll see the greatest results at 5 pm. And then everyone would do best sleeping between 9 pm and 730 am. 

Isn’t it fascinating that your body naturally runs on a clock? Remember when your sibling would use that excuse so they could go to the bathroom right before doing dishes,”my body is on a schedule” may not be completely BS after all. 

Challenge of the Day: Utilize at least one “best time” in your circadian rhythm to make a task easier. Come back and tell me how your experiment went! 

That’s it for today! As this is a trial run, I am entirely open to tweaking The Morning Text, please provide feedback so that I can better cater to your interests. If you believe you have received this message in error and no longer wish to receive them, please notify me. If you would like to view previous Morning Texts please visit themorningtext.com 

Have a wonderful day.

Written by Caleb Gibbons
Sources:

http://fhsapbiology.weebly.com/circadian-rhythm.html