Getting up before dawn has its advantages, but what about my circadian cycles?

Getting up before dawn has its advantages, but what about my circadian cycles?

With the beginning of the new course, we usually pose new challenges that will help us overcome the routine and get closer to our goals. One of the challenges that, personally, have always attracted my attention is to get up very early, at 5 o’clock in the morning, to make the most of the day.

This “challenge” or custom has been popularized by great achievers who claim to have found the necessary time to reach all that their busy life demands. Figures such as Tim Cook (the current executive director of Apple) or Richard Branson (creator of the Virgin chain) praise the effects that wake up before dawn can have for your health and business. If I tried, what would happen to my circadian cycles?

Getting up before dawn has its advantages, but what about my circadian cyclesWhat are circadian cycles?

Circadian cycles fall within the biological rhythms of living beings (both animals and plants) and involve biological variables in relation to certain time spaces.

In particular circadian cycles are those that oscillate in a period of time close to 24 hours (“circadian” refers in Latin to “around the day”) and that are synchronized with the environmental rhythms such as temperature or That of light, the latter being the most decisive when it comes to marking our circadian and biological cycles.

Circadian cycles not only control our sleep patterns, but are also involved in the regulation of other processes in our body such as eating patterns, brain activity or hormonal cycles.

Perhaps the clearest example is the light and the segregation of melatonin in our body. When our body detects through our retinas a descent of natural light (when dusk begins and night comes), a signal is sent to our brain, specifically towards the suprachiasmatic nucleus (a group of neurons in the hypothalamus where we could say That our “internal clock” resides) and this gives the order to start producing more melatonin in the pineal gland: the hormone that controls the sleep cycle.

Can we alter our circadian cycles?

Thus, the “normal” circadian cycles of a person make us sleep when the night (it increases the production of melatonin, our body temperature and blood pressure decrease) and wake up ideally in the light of day (increases body temperature and our Pressure, also increase cortisol and blood glucose). However, many times we are forced or want to change them.

This is the case with people who work at night or in shifts , who must re-regulate their biological rhythms in order to fit them with their obligations. It is possible, of course, that we change these circadian cycles ourselves, even if it takes some time (usually a few days) for our internal clock to adjust again.

The alteration of these circadian cycles in specific moments and in the short term, as can be caused by the known jet lag , can have negative consequences for our body : insomnia, fatigue, hunger at times we are not accustomed … But at These are very specific occasions (because we usually return to our routine in a few days), our internal clock easily returns to its normal cycle.

However, if we change our circadian cycles for long enough, our internal clock is adjusted according to its new needs . It is simply about changing a habit we have had for a long time and creating a new habit tailored to our needs.

The advantages of waking up earlier

Most people have a single -phase pattern of sleep, that is, that we sleep for 7 to 8 hours at a time: these are the hours of sleep we need in general (there will always be people who can function perfectly with less than seven hours of sleep and others That need at least nine or ten) so that our organism recovers and returns to full capacity the next day.

The proposal of those who choose to get up earlier than we consider habitual does not happen to reduce sleep hours, but rather to go to sleep, respecting those minimum 7 hours of rest, and get up earlier.

One of the biggest advantages that, according to those who have tried it, is to get up before dawn, is to be able to work without distractions of any kind (social networks at that time will be practically deserted and we do not run the risk of being interrupted By e-mails or phone calls) or to dedicate time to ourselves (meditating, going out to jog, practicing Yoga …). It’s about not only getting more time than we used to do things, but also being more productive at the same time.

Do you accompany us in this proposal?

If you do not find time to do everything you have planned, if you think you do not have time to train, if you would like to read all those books or papers you have on the shelf but you do not find the time, if you accumulate work and Distract with the flight of a fly as soon as you put yourself in front of the computer … If you find yourself in any of these situations or similar situations, maybe you should try to get up a couple of hours before each morning .

Every new course I try to try something new in relation to my personal life, and this year will be getting up “a little sooner” (at 05:30, to be more precise) in order to get more out of my day to day. After a month thinking every day at midnight “I wish the days had 48 hours,” it is time to stop thinking and take action.

Personally, I will use this “extra time” to work, but you can use it for whatever you want: train, work, read, prepare your thesis, study for the oppositions, organize the meals of the day, prepare that new project that you have in your hands … It’s your time: kick it as you want.

My time to go to sleep will be 23:00 (before it becomes impossible, at least for the moment) to be at 5:30 am to stand and start the day with the first coffee. If you dare to join me in this proposal, look for a powerful reason that makes you jump out of bed at 05:30 in the morning (because without that reason, everything will be more difficult), prepare the alarms and mentalize.

See you in a month to see how this small change in circadian cycles has influenced, for better or worse, in my daily life: we will review nutrition, work life, social life and sports performance.