21 April 2010


No, it's not a Caribbean or Brazilian steel drum band. Circadian rhytm refers to the 24-hour cyce of biochemical, physiological and behavioral processes of living creatures, including humans. The chief source of external cues governing our daily internal clock is sunlight.

Were we left to our own devices, unfettered by work or home life, we would tend to settle into a daily rhythm of activity which takes fullest advantage of the hours of darkness for our sleep needs. However, as individuals we must make adjustments to our natural clock settings to accomodate work and other prioritites. Over the years I've had to adjust to working 12 hours on and 12 hours off (Army communications), 24 hours and and 24 hours off (ambulance driver), being up well before the crack o'dawn (forestry wildlife tech, bus driver), and working from midnight to 8 a.m. (DCS security officer). Most other jobs were daylight, weekday events.

For those whose work imposes a "normal" schedule, say 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday), there are many who still have problems sleeping. Michael Terman describes how it is possible to fine-tune one's rhythms to more fully match the need for rest. His article is informative and timely, even for those who get enough rest -- for you probably know someone who doesn't. (click on the above image to enlarge)

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