Body Clocks and RhythmsThere are many human body functions that occur with amazing regularity. The heart beats about once per second. Intestinal contractions occur approximately every three minutes. The menstrual cycle is once per month. We breathe, on average, once every four heart beats.
The human body is also influenced by daily rhythms. Body temperature, blood pressure, and many hormones such as cortisol all fluctuate on a regular daily cycle. Experiencing jet lag after airplane travel across several time zones illustrates the importance of keeping in sync with normal daily rhythms. When we are out of sync with the normal rhythms of the body we may experience discomfort, irritability, sleep disturbances, headaches, constipation, upset stomachs, decreased reaction time, a lack of concentration, and mild memory loss. An irregular schedule has an effect on the body and mind similar to that of jet lag.
We should have regular hours for the important things in life - sleep, work, eating, physical activity, prayer and Bible study. This is essential to maintain optimal health. Habits of regularity are associated with a improved health and memory, and a better disposition (CG 112).
Author: Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD.
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