CAN YOU FEEL THE RHYTHM?
1. CAN YOU FEEL THE RHYTHM?
’Routine’ is usually seen as a negative term nowadays, largely because we no longer belong to a society of nine – to – fivers. We live in a world that is fast becoming a 24-hour society, where everything is open all hours. You can buy groceries at midnight, book your holiday on the Internet at 3am, and do business online at the crack of down. Before you join the 24-hour revolution, however, take a minute to listen to what your body is trying to tell you – that a round-the-clock lifestyle is not what nature intended.
In an area in our brains called hypothalamus, we have a ’body clock’ that controls our body’s natural rhythms. It tells us when it’s the right time to work, sleep, play, eat. It plays an important part in our physical and psychological well-being. It is, in fact, what makes us tick and it controls many things including our hormones, temperature, immune functions and alertness. It synchronises all these like a conductor with an orchestra; it regulates tempo and brings in all the different instruments on time to make music rather than a random noise. If we try to ignore our body clocks, or even to switch them off for a while, we not only deprive ourselves of much needed rest but we also run the risk of seriously damaging our health.
Ignoring your body clock and changing your body’s natural rhythms can not only make you depressed, anxious and accident prone, it can lead to much more serious health problems. For example, heart disease, fatigue, ulcers, muscular pain, and frequent viral infections can all result from trying to outsmart our body clocks. Altering our patterns of sleeping and walking dramatically affects our immune system. While we sleep the body’s repair mechanism are at work; when we are awake natural killer cells circulate around our bodies and cause more damage. Our digestive system is affected, too – high levels of glucose and fat remain in our bloodstream for longer periods on time and this can lead to heart disease.
Unfortunately, we were not designed to be members of a 24-hour society. We can't ignore millions of years of evolution and stay up all night and sleep all day. We function best with a regular pattern of sleep and wakefulness that is in tune with our natural environment. Nature’s cues are what keep our body clocks ticking rhythmically and everything is working in harmony. So, next time you think a daily routine is boring and predictable, remember that routine may well save your life in the long run.
(Upstream Upper-Intermediate B2)