Body & Fitness

The secrets of your body clock

oorning

5am: Growth hormones are at work repairing tissue and strengthening bones. Your body sends out high levels of the sleep hormone melatonin to keep you asleep at this important time. People working night shifts are likely to feel especially sleepy now.

6am: Women’s hormone levels make this their most fertile time of the day, so if you are trying to conceive, go for it! It helps that a surge of testosterone in both men and women around now boosts your sex drive.

7am: Anti-inflammatory hormones are at their lowest, as is your muscle temperature. These can combine to make you feel stiff and sore, so this may be a particularly difficult time of the day for arthritis sufferers.

8am: Your blood pressure and temperature start to rise and you produce extra cortisol (the stress hormone). This is the most likely time to have a heart attack.

9am: Your digestive system is at its most efficient, so have a big meal now. Because your metabolism is more active now than at any other time, fats absorbed from food are more likely to be burned rather than being stored in your body.

10am: You’re wide awake and your mind is at its sharpest. Your short-term memory and ability to concentrate are at their peak so this is a good time to tackle tasks that require brain power.

11am: Your immune system hits a low around this time because the white blood cells that fight infection and disease are less active. Avoid people with coughs and colds.

Afternoon

Noon: Your blood pressure peaks around midday, increasing your risk of having a stroke by as much as 50%. High blood pressure can strain blood vessels clogged with fatty deposits, causing them to burst.

1pm: Your kidneys are working hard, removing toxins from your body. This is the time when you’re more likely to be visiting the toilet.

2pm: Digesting lunch is your body’s priority, which causes energy levels to drop. Feeling drowsy is a natural consequence, which is why some countries have siestas after lunch.

3pm: Endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers – hit a high about now. This means any aches and pains you’ve got may ease.

4pm: Your adrenaline levels are at their highest and so is your body temperature, making this a good time to exercise. Your lungs are also functioning at their best.

Evening

5pm: Serotonin levels are high (especially if you’ve just had a workout) and you’re likely to feel happiest at this time of day – the fact it’s nearly home time could also help!

6pm: You could find yourself reaching for heartburn medication. At this time of day, your stomach is producing more acid. If you’ve eaten early, you could be suffering from indigestion.

7pm: Now’s a good time to eat because your body is starting to relax due to the melatonin it is producing in preparation for sleep.

8pm: Your liver ups its production of the enzymes needed to break down alcohol, so now is the best time to drink. They will drop again after about two hours.

9pm: This is when you’re most likely to need painkillers. Your endorphin levels have dropped and your pain threshold is at its lowest.

Nighttime

10pm: Your immune system is at a high and you’re better able to fight off bugs.

11pm: Your allergies may flare up at this time of day because the level of histamines in your body increases.

oidnight: If you’re in late pregnancy, you are most likely to go into labour now because progesterone, the hormone that triggers the birth process, is at its highest level.

1am: This is the best time for your body to recharge itself, so you should be asleep by now. However, if you’re prone to gout attacks this is when levels of uric acid are at their highest.

2am: Your skin is particularly absorbent, which is why cosmetic companies make night creams. You are also producing a hormone that slows bladder activity so you shouldn’t need to go to the toilet.

3am: Asthma sufferers are more likely to have an attack at this time thanks to low levels of adrenaline and anti-inflammatory hormones in the body.

4am: This is when most deaths in hospital occur. It could be because blood pressure drops to its lowest during deep sleep. Cot deaths often occur at this time.

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