Body Clocks


“Our body clocks have social jet lag. And it’s making most of us a little crazy.”  Even if you have not travelled across time zones! If you have, or if you work shifts, or work crazy hours, take note!

Are you grumpy in the morning, while your spouse can’t wait to get the day started? One kid jumps out of bed at the alarm, while the other has to be called six times, even though the school bus for both comes at the same time! This is news for you, too.

We have interior physical clocks, that cannot be reset! It has nothing to do with character, or being lazy. Our daily lives are governed by a physical dynamic which we override only with great difficulty, and at great risk.

German scientist Till Roenneberg’s book, Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired is summarised and reviewed in this article by Kathryn Schulz. It has just been published in New York Books, and I found it on a favourite website I have referenced so often,  Arts and Letters Daily.

The article is quite long, for which I am grateful because I doubt I will ever read the book. ALD is sometimes like the Reader’s Digest for me, only the articles are far more interesting! Combined with the material in yesterday’s blog about The Secret Powers of Time, it has given me a lot to think about.

When I first retired, after a lifetime career punctuated by bells… warning bells, start bells, finish bells, recess bells, alarm bells…you get the picture… I swore I would never wear a watch again! Okaaay… but now I have clocks in every room… I mean several clocks, in every room! It hasn’t helped much… I am still perpetually running late. I am a very busy procrastinator… relieved of professional obligations and left to manage time expenditure on my own, I vacillate between time anxiety for public and social events (ready early, extra travel time) and a laissez-faire attitude for things that I manage (late meals, excuses and feeling rushed.)

I also really hate being kept waiting… why does the dentist overbook, so that the appointments never start on time? Does he think his time is more valuable than mine? Don’t answer that! I have started booking all appointments very early in the day so that time overruns have not yet accumulated.

So have a good time reading this! It will give you a new understanding of how individuals manage and are managed by time. It may also provide some useful excuses if you are as time-challenged as I am!

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