20 Facts & Tips About Your Body Clock

I really enjoyed reading The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal (you can read my full book review by clicking here). From this book, I’ve begun implementing a few of the tips I discovered. Here are a few of the facts and tips that I found interesting. 

  1. “Most of us reach our peak of alertness around noon. … We are least alert during the early morning hours—specifically, between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.” 
  2. “Your immediate, or short-term, memory is best during the morning hours. … Your long-term memory is a different matter, however. Afternoon is the best time for learning material that you want to recall days, weeks, or even months later. … How well you remember things depends on when you learn them, not when you recall them.” 
  3. “On average, we tend to do best on cognitive tests—things that require the greatest mental effort—during the morning hours, particularly the late morning hours.” 
  4. “All of your senses—taste, sight, hearing, touch, and smell—are their keenest during the twilight hours of late afternoon and early evening.” 
  5. Tips for keeping your daily rhythms on beat: (1) get out in the sun for at least fifteen minutes each day, and (2) try to follow a regular daily routine.
  6. “Fortunately, there is another way to avoid the Monday morning blahs. Stay up as late as you like, but make sure you get up at your regular wake up time. In other words, don’t sleep in. And don’t take naps during the day. Then, when night rolls around again, you’ll find yourself able to fall asleep at or before your regular bedtime, and you’ll avoid pushing your cycle ahead.” 
  7. “Scientists have also discovered that short naps (twenty minutes or less) are just as revitalizing as long ones—and less disruptive to regular sleep rhythms. In addition, regular nappers wake up more refreshed than those who take only an occasional nap. When naps are part of the regular daily rhythm, they are less disruptive.” 
  8. “Generally, our moods peek around four hours after we awaken.” 
  9. “A regular exercise program can go along way toward easing the physical effects of stress. … The exercise program must be regular, however; sporadic physical activity, such as an occasional game of tennis or softball, or an activity that is not appropriate to your physical condition, can be a harmful stressor.” 
  10. “Melatonin’s daily rhythm is similar to that of legendary vampires: it appears at the onset of darkness and begins to disappear at the break of dawn. In other words, darkness triggers the chemical’s release; sunlight suppresses it. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that melatonin reaches its seasonal peak in the body during the dark winter months.” 
  11. “Beards tend to grow the most on Sunday and the least on Wednesday.” 
  12. “If you wake up in the morning with a temperature of 99° F, you are very likely coming down with a cold, the flu, or some other kind of illness. But if you have that same reading around dinner time, you may be in perfect health. The reason, of course, is that your temperature rises during the day. A high reading early in the day is a greater indication of illness than the same reading late in the day.” 
  13. “Take a commonplace drug like aspirin, for example. When swallowed at 7:00 a.m., aspirin stays in the body for up to twenty-two hours. When the same dose is taken at 7:00 p.m., it is completely out of the body within seventeen hours.” 
  14. “When you know your rhythms are out of sync, be aware that you are particularly vulnerable to illness. It is the time to be extra careful about keeping your distance from people with the flu or other viruses.” 
  15. “The best thing you can do for a tension headache is to learn how to relax. As soon as the headache begins, lie down, if possible, so you can take the strain off your neck, since this is the location of most of the muscles that tense up and cause a tension headache. Close your eyes and breathe deeply to return oxygen to your strained muscles. Better yet, ask a sympathetic friend or loved one to gently massage your neck and shoulders.”
  16. “Eat your biggest meal at breakfast, your next biggest at lunch, and your smallest at dinner.” 
  17. “About every ninety minutes, most people experience an urge to put something into their mouths. … Generally, it will pass in about fifteen minutes.” 
  18. “According to recent studies conducted at Northwestern University, both morning and night people perform simple mental tasks better during the morning hours after consuming the caffeine equivalent of one to three cups of coffee. But when the tasks become more complex, only night people do better under the influence of caffeine. For morning people, the higher dose of caffeine, the more mistakes they make.” 
  19. “Carbohydrates help calm and focus your mind.” 
  20. “Protein foods increase your alertness and help you feel more energetic. … Protein can be eaten either alone or with a carbohydrate food to energize the mind. For carbohydrates to have their calming effect, they must be eaten alone.” 

I’ll be sharing some of the research that Susan Perry and Jim Dawson uncovered about the importance of sleep soon, so stay tuned! 

Poetry Saturday—On A Theme From Nicholas Of Cusa

C.S. Lewis at his deskWhen soul and body feed, one sees
Their differing physiologies.
Firmness of apple, fluted shape
Of celery, or tight-skinned grape
I grind and mangle when I eat,
Then in dark, salt, internal heat,
Annihilate their natures by
The very act that makes them I.

But when the soul partakes of good
Or truth, which are her savoury food,
By some far subtler chemistry
It is not they that change, but she,
Who feels them enter with the state
Of conquerors her opened gate,
Or, mirror-like, digests their ray
By turning luminous as they. —C.S. Lewis

Hospitality

Max LucadoSome folks have asked me to post the Max Lucado quotes on hospitality that I shared this morning.

“Something holy happens around a dinner table that will never happen in a sanctuary. In a church auditorium you see the backs of heads. Around the table you see the expressions on faces. In the auditorium one person speaks; around the table everyone has a voice. Church services are on the clock. Around the table there is time to talk. Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community.” —Max Lucado

“If we wait until everything is perfect, we’ll never issue an invitation. Remember this: what is common to you is a banquet to someone else. You think your house is small, but to the lonely heart, it is a castle. You think the living room is a mess, but to the person whose life is a mess, your house is a sanctuary. You think the meal is simple, but to those who eat alone every night, pork and beans on paper plates tastes like filet mignon.” —Max Lucado

Links & Quotes

link quote

These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting this weekend.

Read this one prayerfully: Why Christian Supporters Of Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Are Wrong.

Some on-the-go missionaries explain How Technology Helps Our Marriage.

Continue to let your voice be heard to save Pastor Saaed from his wrongful imprisonment in Iran.

Amen! “The minister must experience what he would teach or he will find himself in the impossible position of trying to drive sheep. For this reason he should seek to cultivate his own heart before he attempts to preach to the hearts of others.” —A.W. Tozer

[VIDEO] John Maxwell explains why failure is not fatal.

[VIDEO] HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius proves why so many people don’t trust Washington, D.C.

Scientists show that the 5-Second Rule for food on the floor is legit!

“It is a mistake to think we must feel good before we pray; we need to pray most of all when we feel poor, and empty, and weak.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

Distinguishing

DistinguishingA week ago I blogged about why some people avoid reading some of the Old Testament books because they seem tedious, or even out-of-date. But if you look at the Old Testament through the light of Jesus, you will find a rich beauty in its pages.

In Leviticus 11 God lists all kinds of food that is considered clean or unclean, and the proper ways to prepare and eat certain foods so as to not become unclean.

I believe one of the reasons God gave the commands for clean and unclean food was to cause His people to pause. Instead of just gobbling up what was in front of them, without any thought as to what it was, they would have to slow down to distinguish. God even said, “You must distinguish” (Leviticus 11:47).

Slowing down gives time for thankfulness too. How many times do I grab whatever is close by when I’m hungry? I shove anything in my mouth just to satisfy an immediate hunger, but there is no distinguishing, no thought, and no gratitude.

If I were to pause long enough to distinguish, how much healthier and grateful might I be?

Annual Souper Bowl Celebration

Souper Bowl CelebrationI love to eat good food, and I love to hear good stories about God’s blessing. On February 3 I get to do both!

It’s our annual Souper Bowl Celebration. After our regular morning worship service we all sample the delicious homemade soup and chili recipes from the amazing cooks in our church. It’s a little friendly competition, where everyone who eats gets to vote. My son Harrison is the reigning champ two years in a row, so I’ve heard a lot of cooks are gunning to unseat him. The competition should be delicious!

I don’t like meetings, so in place of Calvary Assembly of God having an annual business meeting, we have our annual celebration. It’s a great time recalling what God did for us in 2012, and then looking ahead to 2013. I always get so pumped up for this day!

If you’re around Cedar Springs on February 3, join us for some great food, some friendly competition, and some even better stories of God’s great blessings!

Tough Choices

Sometimes my kids say, “We’re starving!!” To which I want to say, “Really? Starving? I don’t even think you know what that means.”

Especially when I consider these stats from a report called Hunger In America. We are in the midst of a county-wide food drive to support our local food banks, and among the clientele the food bank serves…

  • 42% have had to decide between buying groceries for their family or paying the electric bill.
  • 32% have been forced to decide between eating or paying the rent.
  • 26% have had to weigh buying food or buying needed prescriptions or medical care.

I’ve faced some tough financial decisions before, but never to this extreme. How about you?

Can you help with some groceries? I filled up a grocery bag for less than $25, and bought enough food to provide a family of four breakfast for a week, three days of lunches, and two dinners.

Please donate some needed food items (you can find a list of grocery needs by clicking here) by this Saturday, October 8, 2011. This is an easy way to show the love of God to people in need.

Helping Needy Families

The Bible is pretty cut-and-dry on this:

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. (Proverbs 3:27)

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2:14-17)

So here’s an easy way for those of us in Kent County to do something within our power to help the needy among us —

Buy An Extra Bag Or Two Of Groceries

While the County-Wide Food Drive is going on, take an extra grocery bag or two with you, and fill them up. You will be making a huge difference in the lives of some needy families. You can get a list of needed food and staple items from Access Of West Michigan’s website by clicking here.

Food needs to be turned in to a collection site by Saturday, October 8. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, you can drop off your donations at Calvary Assembly of God, and we’ll deliver them for you.

Yummy

It’s noon, He’s hot and thirsty after a lengthy journey and some intense ministry, so Jesus sits down by a well to get a drink. He’s hungry too, so He sends His disciples into town to buy some lunch. Along comes a woman from the town, whom Jesus engages in conversation about eternal life. (It’s a really cool story—read the whole thing here.)

While this woman runs back into town to invite others to come hear what Jesus has to say, the disciples return with lunch.

“Here, Jesus,” they say, handing Him some food, “eat something.”

“No, thanks,” Jesus replies, “I’m not that hungry right now.”

The disciples start talking among themselves, “What? Where did He get food? Did someone bring Him something to eat?”

Jesus overhears them and makes this fascinating statement:

The food that keeps Me going is that I do the will of the One who sent Me, finishing the work He started.

What nourished Jesus was feeling the Father’s approval.

What energized Jesus was seeing other people begin to understand the Father’s love for them.

What motivated Jesus was to take every opportunity to tell someone else about God’s love.

Finishing the work that God started is good and good for you.

It’s yummy and it’s nourishing!

So I’m asking myself:

  • What nourishes me?
  • What energizes me?
  • What motivates me?
  • What is so fulfilling that I cannot go a day without it?

My prayer—my heart’s desire—is that the answer to all of these questions every single day is finishing the work of God in my generation.

A Healthy Breakfast

Health experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body has been without food (fasting) during the hours you are asleep, so in the morning you are breaking your fast = break-fast.

Want to lose weight? Eat breakfast. Studies show those that do best on their diets eat breakfast every morning.

Want to fire-up your metabolism to burn more calories during the day? Eat breakfast. The way you stoke your body’s engine in the morning determines how it will run all day.

Want to maintain a stable blood sugar level so you don’t get sleepy mid-morning? Eat breakfast. A good breakfast regulates your insulin and blood sugar levels.

Want to learn more? Eat breakfast. Studies show those who eat breakfast regularly have longer attention spans and greater learning capacities.

What you put in your body in the morning determines the course of the rest of your day.

What you put in your mind in the morning determines the course of the rest of your day, too.

Even if you’re not a “morning person” your mind is highly receptive in the hours right after you wake up. So a healthy mental breakfast goes along way toward how you will deal with the situations that face you throughout your day.

Just a few things to consider—

  • What’s on your clock radio in the morning? Not-so-cheery headline news? Coarse radio hosts with crude humor? Music with lyrics that are not very uplifting? A harsh buzzer? Perhaps you could rethink your morning mental breakfast.
  • How do you speak to yourself when you wake up? “Ugh, I just gotta get through today”? “I need a vacation”? “Grrr, I hate my job”? Try thinking of all of the blessings you have: a roof over your head, a bed of your own, clothes to wear, a family to love and a family that loves you.
  • How do you speak to others when you wake up? “Leave me alone”? “<Grunt!>”? Perhaps you could serve them the good mental breakfast they need with some kind, encouraging words.
  • What fuel do you put in your mind? Talking heads on the morning TV shows? Your horoscope? Perhaps something more uplifting would help fuel your mind for the challenges you are going to face today.

The psalmist David had a God-diet each morning, “Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You” (Psalm 143:8, Living Bible).

Jesus had a great morning mental breakfast, too: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed” (Mark 1:35).

What’s your morning mental breakfast like? Do you need to make a diet change?

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