Tick, Tock, Listen to Your Body Clock…

In Los Angeles as a twenty something man I was influenced by the young culture…sleep in, wait until the last minute to wake, and rush to shower and get to work.  Consequently, I would stay at work late, then find something to eat and finally find myself at home around 8or 9pm.  I remember an average day would end around 1am.  This was my routine and it match the routine of most of my friends.  What I also knew is that my energy level went through peaks and valleys throughout the day.

One year, after months of working endless hours, I decided to take a vacation.  I chose a resort out of country.   When I arrived to my hotel room, I felt an overwhelming need to shut out the rest of the world.  For the first time on a trip, I unplugged the phone and disconnected the clock.  I decided I would wake up when I felt ready and go to bed when I felt tired, no distractions, no interruptions…just me, the resort and some books I brought to read.  I was happy at the thought of having nothing to do and no expectations of what I would do.

What I did not expect was that the trip would change my daily routine for the rest of my life.  Without any influences as to when to wake or when to sleep, I discovered my body clock.

During the trip, I would wake up naturally.  I had no idea what time it was, but I noted that the sun was never up.  I would shower and make my way to the resort restaurant for breakfast.  Imagine my shock when I would find that the restaurant was not yet open; employees where rushing around to get everything prepared.  I wondered, “What time is it?”, but I would not ask at first.  After a light breakfast, I would keep myself busy, reading, swimming, doing activities.  Around mid-day (or I assumed because the sun was straight above my head), I would lie down and take a short nap.  Twenty to thirty minutes later, I was up with renewed energy and went about the rest of my day.  My mood was good, my energy was good and I was centered.  As the sun set at the end of each day, I would feel my eyelids become heavy.  Sometime thereafter, I found myself in my bed and soon fast asleep.  I felt great.

By the end of the week, I started asking for the time.  I came to realize, that without any preconceived notion as to what time I should wake and what time I should retire, my body made the decision to wake up early, around 5am and to go bed early around 9pm.  This was no opposite of the routine I had adopted as an adult.  I decided to let my body clock be my guide after the trip was over; a great decision!

I now abide by my body clock, weekdays and weekends.  I wake up earlier than most and go to bed earlier than most, but I feel good.  I also take power naps on many days when I feel my body needs to recharge.  I am productive and more centered as a result.  Tick, tock, listen to your body clock!

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