Humans are largely creatures of habit. We tend to wake up, eat, exercise, and go to bed at roughly the same times every day. While many of these things are dependent on jobs and certain obligations, there are biological mechanisms influencing our daily routine.
AsapSCIENCE has broken down the biological mechanisms that rule our days, showing us exactly how busy our bodies are, 24/7.
6:30 a.m. Time to wake up!
If the first moments of being awake after hearing your alarm clock go off are the least enjoyable of your day, there's a good reason. You're no longer asleep, but you're not quite awake either. In short, your body is a bit of a mess. It'll take a little while to get out of this funk, which is officially known as the hypnopompic state.
As part of an effect called "sleep inertia," activity in the frontal lobe is reduced shortly after waking up. This makes it difficult to react quickly to stimuli, you're much less coordinated, and short-term memory suffers. For most people, this lasts less than half an hour.
There are many things going on during the minutes that it takes to wake up and shake off the sleepiness. The level of the stress hormone cortisol starts ramping up to make you more alert, and blood pressure jumps as well.
7:30 a.m. Now is a good time to drink that coffee!
As was explained in a previous video by AsapSCIENCE, the best time to drink coffee is about an hour after you wake up. This gives your body time to normalize your blood pressure and cortisol levels. If you try to have your coffee before you've had time to wake up a bit on your own, the coffee doesn't work as well and you can actually become resistant to the effects of the caffeine, which nobody wants.
Before you take that first sip, be sure to get a big whiff of coffee first. By bringing your sense of smell into the process, you'll dramatically increase the taste of your morning cuppa joe.
12:00 p.m. Lunch time!
Though your stomach is large enough to hold about two ounces when empty, it's able to expand to accommodate 2.5 pints of food and liquid. It takes a couple of hours for the stomach to break your lunch down into a product called "chyme" and send it to the small intestine for the nutrients to be extracted. This process is all handled automatically, thanks to your enteric nervous system.
Because the digestive process takes a while, you'll probably feel a bit groggy a few hours after eating. Once glucose from lunch hits your bloodstream, levels of insulin also get higher in order to keep blood sugar levels in check. This basically puts you in a minor food coma and will likely leave you feeling a bit droopy-eyed mid-afternoon, making you want to steal a quick catnap.
4:30 p.m. Gym time!
If you are serious about getting a good workout, the best time to do it is later in the afternoon. Your frontal lobe has plenty of activity, making your moves more coordinated with better reaction times. Your circulatory system is also fully on board at this time, helping to maximize your performance, build muscle, and get better results.
(Side note: though this might be the best time to build muscle, the actual best time to work out each day is when you can genuinely commit to doing it on a regular basis.)
But the day isn't over yet...
6:00 p.m. Get ready to hit up Happy Hour!
Many bars and restaurants have happy hour right around the time work gets out for the day, and, according to science, you should probably head out around that time. Physiologically, your body will tolerate the booze much better at this time than if you start earlier in the day.
8:30 p.m. Get out there and find a mate.
Before you leave the bar for the night, you may decide you don't want to leave alone. While different body types and hair colors are a matter of personal preference, there are some biological factors that will help you find that special someone in a hurry.
Studies have routinely shown that women who are ovulating are considered more attractive than when they aren't fertile, but scientists haven't been able to put their finger on exactly why this is the case. While women's faces do get redder during ovulation, the change is so subtle that the human eye can't readily detect it.
Our ability to sexually attract a partner is also related to our pheromones — chemicals that contribute to our signature scent. While this effect isn't as huge in our modern days of soap, anti-perspirant, and perfume, it's still there.
11:00 p.m. Time for a roll in the hay.
Though 11:00 p.m. is around the time most people have sex, this is largely done out of convenience. If high quality sex is what you're after, you're better off having sex in the morning, when testosterone levels are higher. Additionally, males will have higher quality sperm earlier in the day as well.
11:30 p.m. Now it's time for sleep
At the end of the night, your brain starts cranking out melatonin to put you to sleep. A number of things happen during this time. Body temperature decreases and your metabolism slows down. Your brain waves also change throughout the night, depending on where you are in your sleep cycles, which last roughly 90-110 minutes.
Dreams are most realistic during REM sleep, when brain activity levels rival waking levels. However, the areas responsible for logic and reason aren't very active at this time, which explains why you had that dream about riding on a dragon to get tacos with Benjamin Franklin.
...and it will all happen again tomorrow.
Your body goes through this cycle day after day, year after year. It's actually pretty amazing when you think about it.
Want to learn more? Check out the video from AsapSCIENCE that explains it all:
[All images via: AsapSCIENCE]
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