I turned 30 this past April and I would have to say over the course of this last year I have grown into myself more than any year to date. For some reason turning thirty was the permission I needed to not give any (well you know what I am about to say)… about what others think about me. Not that I turned into an a-hole, I just started to prioritize myself. It started with a month-long trip to Bali, Indonesia and will to be closing out with more self-reflection and learning than I have ever done. Also turning thirty has made realize I really am an “adult” and my priorities and lifestyle have shifted significantly since I was in my early twenties.
I value my sleep and early mornings. I swear my mind works better in the morning. I have more energy and I am unstoppable until about.. 8pm. Then my brain shuts down and it is time to unwind. While I love my adventures, most nights I would rather have a one on one conversation with a friend (yes that includes the weekend) than going out to a bar to party. If I am being honest having a few drinks gives me a hangover for 3 days! As much as I love my IPA’s totally not worth it. These are the surface level things, as you and I become friends I will start to share what is REALLY going on in that head of mine.
But as I sat down to write this morning I thought… what if all of these changes we actually BECAUSE I am thirty. Literally, a biological change in my body because I am getting older. In my bit of research I found some really interesting information and who doesn’t like to learn. So I am sharing it with you all!
BE WARNED I AM ABOUT TO GO A LITTLE “SCIENCEY” ON YOU.
As I mentioned above, my optimal time of day is definitely in the morning. I wake up and I am ready to go for the day. Energy is good, mental clarity is on point, ready to get after the day. If I think back to the twenty year old version of myself. If I was sitting try to write this blog post at 7:38am, I would be bleery eyed, on the struggle bus, wishing for nothing more than to crawl back into my bed until noon. It turns out this is actually because of the what is happening internally in the body at different ages because of circadian rhythms.
Do you know what circadian rhythms are?
Circadian Rhythms the physiological, mental and behavioral changes that happen within the body on a 24-hour time clock. According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences this is affected by environmental cues: sunlight, darkness and temperature. Digging a little deeper circadian rhythms influence sleep/wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other functions and get this… THEY CHANGE AS WE GET OLDER!!
What is happening internally throughout the day?
In the morning… as light starts to creep across your bed (maybe not so much in Oregon right now) the brain sends signals to raise your body temperature and produce hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol can be produced in response to stress or in this case with Circadian Rhythms. In the morning cortisol helps give energy, which decreases as the day goes on. Also in response to light (again not always in Oregon, but we are on the 24 hour cycle so your body knows it is morning) the brain delays the release of other hormones such as melatonin, which is associated with sleep and produced when we are exposed to darkness. Melatonin levels rise in the evening and stay elevated throughout the night, thus helping you sleep.
OK so what am I getting at with all this hormone, light and dark science mumbojumbo?
Basically based on circadian rhythms which are affected by age there is an optimal time to be doing all things in our lives: sleep, waking up and even having a drink!
I am going to quote this directly from an article I read….
“As we get older, the melatonin in our bodies starts decreasing, so we wake up earlier and earlier. The change begins in our thirties. A study from Paul Kelley and Oxford University states that the ideal wakeup time when we’re in our twenties is 9:30 a.m.; in our thirties, 8 a.m.; in our forties, 7:30 a.m.; in our fifties, 7 a.m.; and in our sixties, 6:30 a.m. This means, of course, we need to adjust our bedtime to match our wakeup time to get the rest we need.”
YES! My hypothesis is correct: thirty baby! Although according to this I am apparently on a sixty year old time clock? We will blame this on working often at 4:30am. And as far as the bedtime goes, I am still working on that…
So now knowing all this, when is are optimal times to work, exercise, drink…
Work & Focus: Our ability to focus and perform are also affected by circadian rhythms and the best time to start working is about 2.5-3 hours after waking up. So my thirty year old peeps… doesn’t this make sense? You go workout first thing in the morning, have breakfast and at this point in the morning you have surpassed the fogginess stage and can start your day with mental sharpness and energy! This is not the same for our twenty year old selves. Remember the optimal time to wake up at twenty is 9:30am. This puts them at almost noon for optimal work time. Man, our society isn’t doing us any favors here. Work and school times start WAY too early.
Exercise: According to the research done, the optimal time to work out is four hours before bedtime. This is at our peak strength and lung function. In your thirties, this is around 7 p.m.; in your forties, 6 p.m.; and in your fifties, around 5 p.m.
Now not that I don’t agree with what is happening internally (I can’t argue with the science of the body) however what I can argue with is my own personal motivation and exercise “threshold”. I can guarantee if it hits 1 pm the likelihood of making it to the gym decreases every minutes significantly until I probably am not going to hit the gym. So while the times above may be “optimal” getting in the actual exercise is more important. Sorry science I am sticking with the morning.
Drankkkkss: As we get older, our liver function decreases. (And this explains my 3 day hangovers! GOD I LOVE SCIENCE) If you’re going to enjoy an adult beverage, try to do so at your peak liver function, which for most ages is at least 4 hours before bed. This gives your body time to process.
It looks like that 4 hour window before bed is busy for your body… optimal exercise time or happy hour with friends? Hmm….Think on that one… Until next time…
PS. See the Share button under here? Please share if this helped you. Follow me if you want to be friends forever! I am promise I am fun! It will be a good time!