Vacation and Circadian Rhythms
I was very impressed by a blog re-post over at happyhealthylonglife about trying to match your daily schedule to the body’s circadian rhythms. Impressed, as in I kept thinking about it long after I read it in my RSS reader. Using the levels of various hormones as they ebb and flow, there may be best and worst times of the day for certain activities. I thought about it enough that I went back to find the post and copied out by hand the schedule so I could reflect on it more. What I found is that it resembles the schedule I follow during summer, when school is not in session. It takes me a while to transition from the public school routine to what my family calls “summering”. Yes, we turn “summer” into a verb. It is an action of maximizing the enjoyment of every summer day. With no alarms or bells ringing, my day gradually becomes more like this circadian ideal. Now that I have a more sepcific research based version, I am going to experiment with following it more closely whenever I can. The point of the original post is to maximize productivity by doing the tasks that are best suited to certain times of the day. Since it is spring break for me this week, I am experimenting with it right now. This summer I hope to get into my circadian rhythm right away, so I can take my “summering” to another level.
So an ideal circadian day might look like this:
7 AM Wake
7-9 AM Socializing time. Ever notice that morning radio is mostly talk? And coffee junkies chat while getting coffee? How many people check social media right away?
9-11 AM Brain Time: the best time for the most intense creative or intellectual work.
11 AM- 2 PM Errands and to-do list tasks. Good blend of mental and physical ability. This is when I do my training in summer, so that my post workout recovery is . . .
2 -3 PM Lunch and a nap
3-6 PM Routine tasks or exercise session #2. The brain is done, so things that don’t take a lot of concentration are ideal.
6-8 PM Dinner
8-10 PM wind down, read, watch movies. Stay away from the computer! Close proximity to a bright monitor interferes with sleep.
I find that in summer, my meal times gradually drift later for all three meals and get closer to this plan. Mentally I’m sharpest in the morning between breakfast and before my main training session, so that will be my writing time. Like right now.
So the experiment begins. Can this circadian life hack make me more productive or feel better? We’ll see.