Circadian Rhythms

I am not a morning person. There is nothing about the morning that I like. I do not like watching the sunrise. I do not like listening to the birds chirping outside my bedroom window. I do not like the “freshness” and dew in the morning. I do not like eating breakfast.

Just to clarify, I do like to listen to birds singing. I enjoy the sun, but prefer the sunset. I love seeing a beautiful sunset. Oh my how I love breakfast. I like cooking it and I like eating it. I love to make biscuits and yummy gravy with bacon or sausage grease. I enjoy making scrambled eggs and French toast. Of course, I love a good cup of coffee to go with this. It’s just that I prefer to have breakfast at 10 AM rather than 6 AM. I’m more of a brunch kind of person.

For years I have made attempts at forcing myself to be a morning person. Everyone else in my family is a morning person (apparently, I got the recessive gene). I’ve tried to follow the advice of a dear pastor’s wife and force myself out of the bed early, grabbing my Bible and praying. During that time, none of my prayers were answered. It’s probably because there weren’t any since I was trying to stay awake rather than praying.

This has troubled me for a long time, so I finally decided to research the circadian rhythm and figure out why I was like this. It has been suggested to me that there might be something “wrong” with me and that I may need to see a doctor for it. Before I made an appointment, I did my homework. In true Temerity fashion, I thoroughly researched circadian rhythms and sleep disorders.

The circadian rhythm is the internal “body clock” that regulates periods of sleepiness and alertness. We know that the average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep each day. If you do not get this amount, the circadian rhythm will cause you to feel sleepy in the middle of the day, between 2-4 PM, so that you can catch up on the missed sleep. If you have had plenty of sleep, while you may feel a little ‘off’ during that time, you probably won’t need a nap.

However, the circadian rhythm does much more. The internal timer is genetically predisposed and is set before you are born. You cannot change it. Unfortunately, this means that some people spend much of their lives not being the best they can be. Teenagers, for example, who usually have a period of being a night owl, are forced to be at school by 8 AM. They would perform much better at 2-3 in the afternoon. Night owls with a day job actually do their best work after 5 PM rather than the morning.

Even more unfortunate is that we try to change these internal clocks in order to please parents, bosses, and public schools. Doctors have advised night owls to turn off their computers, televisions, and overhead lights at the very time when night owls are often most productive. Most of the blogs that I’ve written have been composed after 5 PM, and get posted around 11 PM. I can’t imagine forcing myself to turn off my computer at 8 o’clock!

As I type this, I’ve been awake, if not alert, for 2 ½ hours. However, I forced myself to get up early, and even tried to go for a walk. When I walk in the afternoon or evening, I pound out about 3 miles and love every minute. I listen to bold, fun music on my Ipod, and I even do dance moves in the middle of the street that I would never do at a dance studio. This morning, I might have walked a mile, I had to turn the Ipod off since the music annoyed me, and I am still dragging. It has now taken me ten minutes to type this paragraph, something I could normally do in less than two minutes. I am NOT a morning person.

“To a certain extent, behavior and environment — say, routinely pumping iron in a well-lit gym toward midnight — can shift our built-in predispositions. But for those of us squarely in one chronotype camp or the other, in the end, the body is the boss.

“If you’re a morning-type person, you can’t become an evening type, and vice versa.””

To all of the people who have ever told, or plan to tell me, that I should get up early in the morning in order to get a jump start on the day, to have quiet time with the Lord, to read my Bible, to prepare my daily schedule for me and my children, shut up! I’m finished trying to be the person you think I’m supposed to be.

I’m going back to bed now.

~Temerity Dowell

http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-drive-and-your-body-clock

http://www.livescience.com/16334-night-owls-early-birds-sleep-cycles.html

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4 thoughts on “Circadian Rhythms

  1. I, myself, fall somewhere in between night owl and morning person. I don’t set an alarm unless I have an early appointment and wake up at 7 AM on a consistent basis. However, I’m not ready to hit the ground running. I like to lay in bed and check my email & Facebook for a few minutes, then make my way to the kitchen for a cup of Bulletproof Coffee, and depending on the season, go outside on the deck or sit by the fire downstairs. I think 10 AM is a perfectly reasonable time to begin dealing with clients (being self employed gives me flexibility).

    On the rare occasion that I do have to get up and out of the house early, I’m always surprised to find a number of folks out running, apparently for the fun of it- which perplexes me to no end, as soon as the sun comes up! No thank you! Just let me wake up slowly and ease into my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Becky Jo, Thank you for reading my blog. This day hit me hard. It’s almost 10 at night, I have an early morning appointment that entails a 90 minute drive and my body is trying to determine if I should go to sleep or stay awake. I love easing into a day!
      ~TD

      Like

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