WHAT IS YOUR BEST TIME OF DAY?
Organisms exhibit biological rhythms. Some are short and can be measured in minutes or hours. Others last days or months. The idea that our bodies are in constant flux is fairly new and goes against traditional medical training.
In the past, many doctors were taught to believe the body has a relatively stable, or homeostatic, internal environment. Any fluctuations were considered random and not meaningful enough to be studied. As early as the 1940’s, however, some scientists questioned the homeostatic view of the body. Franz Halberg, a young European scientist working in the United States, conducted a series of experiments on mice and noticed that the number of white blood cells in these animals was dramatically higher and lower at different times of the day. Gradually, such research spread to the study of biological rhythms in human beings, and the findings were sometimes startling.
For example, the time of day when a person receives X-ray or drug treatment for cancer can affect treatment benefits and ultimately mean the difference between life and death. This new science, the study of biological rhythms in human beings, is called chronobiology, and the evidence supporting it has become increasingly persuasive. Along the way, the scientific and medical communities are beginning to rethink their ideas about how the human body works, and gradually what had been considered a minor science just a few years ago is being studied in major universities and medical centers around the world.
With their new findings, they are teaching us things that can literally change our lives – by helping us organize ourselves so we can work with our natural rhythms rather than against them. This can enhance our outlook on life as well as our performance at work. Because they are easy to detect and measure, more is known of daily or circadian (Latin for ‘about a day’) – rhythms than other types.
The most obvious daily rhythm is the sleep / wake cycle. But there are other daily cycles as well: temperature, blood pressure, hormone levels. Amid these • and the body’s other changing rhythms, you are simply a different person at 9 a.m. than you are at 3 p.m. How you feel, how well you work, your level of alertness, your sensitivity to taste and smell, the degree with which you enjoy food or take pleasure in music – all are changing throughout the day. Most of us seem to reach our peak of alertness around noon. Soon after that, alertness declines, and sleepiness may set in by mid-afternoon.
Your short-term memory is best during the morning – in fact, about 15 per cent more efficient than at any other time of day. So, students, take heed: when faced with a morning exam, it really does pay to review your notes right before the test is given.
Long-term memory is different. Afternoon is the best time for learning material that you want to recall days, weeks or months later. Politicians, business executives or others who must learn speeches would be smart to do their memorizing during that time of day. If you are a student, it would be better for you to schedule your more difficult classes in the afternoon, rather than in the morning. You should also try to do most of your studying in the afternoon, rather than late at night.
Many students believe they memorize better while burning the mid-night oil because their short-term recall is better during the wee hours of the morning than in the afternoon. But short-term memory won’t help them much several days later, when they face the exam.
A. Fill in the blanks with words from the passage.
1. Something that is in a state of is characterized by continuous changes. (Paragraph 1)
2. Something that is happens or is chosen without a definite plan, pattern or purpose. (Paragraph 1)
3. means finally, after a long and often complicated series of events. (Paragraph 2)
4. To something means to improve its value, quality, or attractiveness. (Paragraph 4)
1. What led to the study of biological rhythms in human beings?
2. How can we change our lives positively?
3. What are the daily cycles mentioned in the passage?
4. When are the majority of people most alert?
5. Why is it better to study in the afternoon?