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!