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Times When We Function Best

By paying attention to our body clocks, we can figure out what times we function best at certain tasks, and decide whether to put them aside for later--or do them right away. This can range from manual tasks to creative thinking to the best time to take a nap.

Many of us are locked into schedules at home or at work, but when we DO have a choice, it's important to know what will be the most productive choice to make. Disruption of circadian rhythms (our body's natural clock) has been linked to diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity.

In the September 26th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Sue Shellenbarger quotes biologist Steve Kay as saying that when we can synchronize the functioning of our body's metabolic, cardiovascular and behavioral rhythms in response to light and other natural stimuli, it "gives us an edge in daily life."

Most of us do our best thinking in the late morning, since our body temperature begins to rise just before we wake up and continues to rise until midday, and this causes our memory, alertness and concentration to rise as well. Most of us are most easily distracted after 4 p.m., and alertness tends to slump after we eat. Shellenbarger quotes Kay as saying, "We are not only what we eat, we are WHEN we eat."

We get tired around 2 p.m., which is a good time for a nap. But don't be too quick to close your eyes: fatigue may boost our creative powers, which is why creative thinking is best done in the evening, before bed (maybe because, when our logical left brain is tired, our more creative right brain takes over?)

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