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How are men and women's body clocks different?

Last week you voted on instagram and wanted to know about gender differences in the circadian rhythym, and how you can use it to your advantage.


I left this week having a better understanding of why many men and women act the way they do, and I hope you will too.


What is a circadian rhythm?


A circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates various biological functions in living organisms, including humans. It's often referred to as the body's "internal clock." The word "circadian" comes from the Latin words "circa" (meaning "around") and "diem" (meaning "day"), indicating that these rhythms occur roughly over a 24-hour cycle.


A circadian rhythm is like a daily schedule that your body follows without you even realising it. It helps regulate sleep-wake patterns, body temperature, hormone production, digestion, and other essential processes. These rhythms are influenced by external cues, such as light and darkness, and can be affected by factors like work schedules, travel, and lifestyle choices.



How are men’s and women’s circadian rhythm’s different?


Most of the current knowledge about the human circadian timing system is based on research in men.


The circadian rhythms of melatonin and body temperature are set to an earlier hour in women than in men, even when the women and men maintain nearly identical and consistent bedtimes and wake times. Moreover, women tend to wake up earlier than men and exhibit a greater preference for morning while men favour nighttime activities.


How can you use the circadian rhythm to your advantage?


Circadian rhythms play a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Disruptions to these rhythms, such as jet lag or working night shifts, can lead to temporary imbalances and make you feel groggy, tired, or out of sync. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, exposure to natural light, and practicing good sleep hygiene can help keep your circadian rhythms in balance and promote optimal health.



As you can see by the chart above, the body releases different hormones throughout the day making certain times better for certain actions.


Five tips to optimise circadian rhythym:


  • To optimise exercise, exercise first thing in the morning when cortisol levels are at their highest, or at 4-5pm depending on gender if you want to achieve peak performance.

  • To optimise creative functions, do your difficult tasks first thing in the morning when cortisol is highest

  • To optimise social functions are optimal after noon for men or late morning for women

  • To optimise sleep, turn off lights at night to maintain optimal sleep and increase melatonin production

  • Avoid caffeine 14 hours before going to sleep to avoid sleep disruption


How can women use the circadian rhythm to their advantage?


The truth is, although the 24 hour circadian rhythm still applies to women, menstrating women actually have a second infraradian clock on a 28 day cycle to use to our advantage.


If you want to know more about how to optimise the infraradian clock, make sure you’re following me on Instagram to make sure it gets voted in for next week’s post.



Videos on circadian rhythyms:


Sleep Toolkit: Tools for Optimizing Sleep & Sleep-Wake ...


What Is Circadian Rhythm? | Sleep Foundation


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