Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dr. Halberg's Biorhythms: The best times to do something


More than 50 years ago, Dr. Franz Halberg of the University of Minnesota discovered that many biological processes appear to run according to an in-built clock. Later experiments showed him that living things respond to the same 24-hour rhythm, in tandem with the earth’s rotation.

Halberg also discovered that living things keep in time to many other periodic rhythms; half-weekly, weekly, monthly and yearly cycles govern virtually every biological function.

The human pulse and blood pressure, body temperature and blood clotting, circulation of lymphocytes, hormonal cycles and other functions of the human body all appear to ebb and flow according to some basic, recurring timetable.

Initially scientists believed that the master switch for these biological rhythms was located in certain cells of the brain or adrenal glands. But in his eighties, Halberg made his final breakthrough discovery: The synchronizer within every living thing is not internal but resides in the planets – particularly the sun and solar activity.

In a sense, the sun is our metronome. These rhythms are a ready-made feature of organisms, not simply something learned or acquired – an inherent property of life.

Because of this, we have biorhythms for everything in our lives – times when it is better to do one activity than another. For instance, having a glass of wine at lunchtime makes you more woozy than in the evening because your liver is three times better at detoxifying the alcohol in the evening than at midday.

Here are the best times to carry out activities in your day:

7 am: The optimum time to have sex, when the body produces a surge in hormones and adrenaline. Testosterone levels rise during sleep and reach a peak in men after a night’s sleep.

8:30-9: The best time to eat, since blood pressure and your metabolic rates are at their highest. Hence, the old adage to ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’. A huge meal will put on less weight in the morning than later in the day.

9:30-11:30 am; The optimum time for test taking, when your short-term memory and brain power are at their sharpest.

2 pm: The perfect time for a nap. The worst time to drive or operate equipment, as it is most likely time for an accident.

2:30-3: The best time for recall or reminiscing; long-term memory peaks.

4-6 pm: The best time to exercise – your muscles are at their warmest of the day, your reaction time, hand-eye coordination reach their optimum.

6-8 pm: The best time for mindfulness meditation, when sensory ability is at its most acute, and also problem solving, as the blood flowing to your brain peaks.

7-9 pm: The best time to share with friends and loved ones, as cortisol – the stress hormone – and blood pressure drops.

10-11 pm: The best time to sleep, when production of melatonin, the hormone inducing sleep, surges, and heart rate, body temperature begin to wind down.

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