chronotypes / book rec

February 14, 2014

fascinating read:

i just finished till roenneberg’s internal time.  a fascinating and eye-opening book that i finished at about 5:15 am this morning 🙂

in it, roenneberg presents 24 vignettes [inspired by known facts/trends, but adapted into fiction] and explains how internal clocks — or chronotypes — shape our individual days.  i highly recommend reading the whole book.  the concepts are described clearly, backed in solid science — and the whole volume also comes off as quite charming and fun to read.
just a few of the things i learned:
i am an early chronotype.  you can easily estimate your chronotype by calculating the midpoint of a ‘free’ night of sleep.  meaning:  if you are fairly rested, and it’s the weekend, and there are NO toddlers /babies dictating when your morning is to begin — when would you naturally fall asleep, and when would you wake up?
if it’s 11pm –> 8 am, your chronotype would be 3:30 [fairly average]
if it’s 10pm –> 6:30, your chronotype would be 2:15 [early]
✔ the average human — in the absence of light/social cues — cycles to a 25 hour day.  however, very early chronotypes can have cycles of less than 24 hours, and late ones tend to cycle longer.  
✔ chronotypes do NOT correlate with sleep need/duration — you can be a short OR long sleeper with an earlier or later chronotype.  however, later chronotypes are ‘better’ at staying up late, even far past the time when they typically would choose to go to sleep.

cycles are based on a combination of light and social cues, and many of the natural seasonalities are going by the wayside.  the problem comes as much from lack of REAL light than from ‘pollution’ from devices.
chronotypes change with age.  although even in college i was one of the people notorious for passing out early when given the chance, and i never minded 8 am classes. 
✔ shift work SUCKS.  although i already knew that.
daylight savings time does too!  and i know that most parents of young children would back me here!
anyway, i highly recommend the book.  it helped me understand why i was so miserable during parts of residency [ie: any part requiring me to stay up super late/work night shifts!], why others may have a much easier time staying up in certain situations, and why i should probably just embrace my earlier tendencies.
what is your chronotype?

ps:  no signs of anything labor-related.  which is good, because i had mixed feelings about a v-day baby 🙂  but also sort of bad, because today is my last day of work [!!!] and while a little rest sounds nice, i don’t want to ‘waste’ too much of my maternity leave!
for your viewing pleasure, here is how dinner ended last night:
i think she liked the soup.
happy valentine’s day!!

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