Going at the Speed of the Body

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal was a story about chronobiology or what we use to call “circadian rhythms” relates to the 24 hour cycle our bodies experience and how our  internal clock drives a great deal of our behavior. While I am a big believer in our ability to address our behaviors, over the years I’ve developed a healthy respect for biology.

Examples of how powerful this biological imperative is on our bodies include the facts that acid production peaks at nighttime to help digest our evening meal.  The morning sunlight mobilizes cortisol which is the stress hormone that readies us for the day and our body sends out a blood clotting chemical which is thought to have been helpful to ancient hunting man but is problematic for modern day people in that it may contribute to AM heart attacks.

Disruptive patterns as they relate to sleep can cause mood difficulties so you probably shouldn’t be surprised if you are grouchy if you are not getting enough sleep. Of course age plays a key role in all this as well for infants and elders who may already have sleep patterns that are disrupted.

Within the resilience model and based on work by Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry, two of my teachers, we call this “going at the speed of the body”. How can you recognize what your body needs and how can it respond to biological demands so that you are attuned to your body’s reality and can respect it so that you create greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Create as much routine as you can. Get to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Eat regularly meals at about the same time as well
  • Watch your sleep and get on a regular schedule
  • Pay attention to how your body responds to certain demands including food. Last week I had an Italian Ice (for the first time in a year) and I was wired for about 45 minutes from all the sugar.
  • Get as much light as you can in the morning once you awaken and create dark at night
  • Track your body energy from the time you wake up until you go to bed for a week or so to notice how you respond during the course of the day.

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