Your biological clock may want to control things like your sleep patterns which, in effect, can be a major factor with things like your attitude and productivity during the day; but you do have some of control over how much it really impacts you. Yep, as most of us probably know, our decisions often lead to how well we do or don’t sleep, along with how successful we are during work or exercise — like when we go to bed, how much sleep we got and, maybe more related, what we’ve eaten throughout the day for energy.
To better understand just how much your biological clock can be impacted by these types of things, a recent experiment conducted by scientists from the Universities of Surrey and Birmingham in Britain, and Monash University in Australia, asked 22 healthy individuals who fall asleep at 2:30 a.m. and wake up at 10:15 a.m. to change things up a bit. Could these “night owls” be more productive by resetting their biological clock?
According to CNBC, participants were asked to follow a list of modifications to their daily routines over the course of three weeks. Here’s a look at what researchers asked the subjects in the study to do:
- Wake up 2 to 3 hours before regular wake up time
- Eat breakfast as soon as possible after waking up
- Get as much outdoor, natural light in the mornings as possible
- Exercise only during the morning hours
- Take lunch at the same time each day
- Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m.
- No naps after 4 p.m.
- Avoid eating any food after 7 p.m. — have an early dinner
- Go to bed 2 to 3 hours earlier than usually do
- Limit the amount of light exposure in the evening
- Make sure that your sleep and wake up times remain the same each day
So, what’d the results of the study show? After three weeks, participants were able to successfully shift their biological clock two hours forward during the study, with researchers highlighting some major changes in the subjects. These included an increase in cognitive and physical performance during the morning hours, and a shift in peak performance times from evening to afternoon. Maybe more importantly, the participants reported less stress and depression.
Following the results, a professor from University of Surrey named Debra Skene had this to add, specifically speaking about the impact the study had on physical and mental health.
“Establishing simple routines could help ‘night owls’ adjust their body clocks and improve their overall physical and mental health.
Professor Skene’s comments come at a time when burnout and work-induced stress are a hot topic. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its own study describing how burnout with a job can be “recognized as feelings of energy exhaustion, increased mental distance from a person’s job or reduced professional efficacy,” so seeing how the subjects in the first study were able to be more productive and less exhausted by resetting the biological clock is important — especially for those late-night workers and night owls.
Whether you’re someone who works late, works too much or already has feelings of burnout, it’s important to remember to practice successful routines in order to have better physical and mental well-being. The goal is to be the best versions of ourselves, and this info’s helpful in giving more knowledge about how to accomplish that.