Respect your body clock

Posted by Dr. Parul R. Sheth on Fri, Aug 22, 2014  
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Timing is everything whether it is catching a flight, attending an interview or giving birth! This holds true even for the events that occur within your body. Every person has a 24-hour or circadian rhythm that controls certain bodily functions. The body’s internal clock commands an array of cycles, varying from electrical activity in the brain and sleep cycles to menstrual cycles, pregnancy and hormonal ebbs and tides.  To remain healthy it is important that you accept and adjust to the body’s natural clock and natural biorhythms.


Human beings are programmed for daytime activity and nighttime sleep. Each individual needs about 7-8 hours of sleep in the night.  Babies sleep for longer hours. Tiny tots too need more sleep time. Teenagers tend to sleep late in the night and oversleep during the morning. As you grow older, your sleep time decreases; you tend to wake up early. The recent party culture disturbs the sleep patterns and creates weekend warriors who oversleep during weekends. To avoid health issues related to sleep it is best to adapt a regular sleep and wake-up time each day.


It is true that exercises can be done at any time of the day but according to the biorhythm studies, your body is designed to exercise most easily during late afternoons. This is because the muscles in the body are most flexible and the joints move most easily at that time. Some of you may want to exercise before going to bed and that can make you fall asleep easily. 


Interestingly, several other body functions in addition to sleep and exercise coincide with biorhythms. For instance blood pressure and heart rate, which rise sharply as you wake up but fall during sleep. In addition to the morning surge in blood pressure, the stress hormone adrenalin and pulse rate also rise. Platelets in the blood too turn stickier in the morning and are more likely to clump and form deadly clots when the body’s ability to dissolve them diminishes. Most heart attacks and stroke are known to occur within three hours of waking.


In many illnesses, the symptoms wax and wane through the day. Asthma attacks occur at the pre-dawn time. This is because the hormone cortisol and body’s natural chemicals that open the airways peak by day and wane by night. Asthma attacks are also associated with the menstrual cycle. An asthmatic woman may find her symptoms increasing right before or after her periods.  


Have you ever given a thought as to why do you put on a few kilos in winter? No doubt winter is a good season when you feel hungrier and you eat more. But this is the time of the season when your body’s metabolism slows down making you put on weight. 


There is also a particular time and day for ovulation to take place during your menstrual cycle every month. You cannot conceive at any other time of the month. 

“Do you take your medicines on time?” asks the doctor; rightly so, because medications and surgeries in tune with your body clock can help cure the disease quicker and better. Chronotherapy, as it is termed medically, is being used for treating ailments such as asthma, diabetes, ulcers etc. It entails taking medicine at a specific time of the day. For instance, ulcer patients are advised to take their medicines in the evening because acid secretion peaks around that time and medicines or antacids taken around that time can help neutralize the acid secretion. Experts suggest that taking blood pressure medications before going to bed can prevent heart attacks and strokes.


Just like a clock on the wall or on your wristwatch your body clock works in time effortlessly. Any disruptions in the body clock can cause adverse health problems affecting the heart and brain. Obesity and depression are also associated with disturbed internal body clock. So the best way to prevent any mishaps from occurring, you need to respect your body clock. Try to adapt to your own body rhythms to live a healthy long life. Most importantly, regular exercise, regular sleep-time and regular meals can help in keeping the body rhythms in line.

by Dr. Parul R. Sheth 


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