Are You A Lark or An Owl? Understand Your Body Clock!

Eastern Screetch-Owl (Megascops asio,grey morp...Eastern Screetch-Owl

Are You A Lark or An Owl? Understand Your Body Clock!

Your body clock enables you to synchronise the working of your body with day and night. The actual 'clock' is a cluster of about 10,000 nerve cells deep in your brain in the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus controls body temperaturehungerthirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles - your body clock. Light coming in through the eyes helps the body clock to keep in time with day or night and it resets slightly every day.

One of the most important ways in which the body clock works is by triggering the production of hormones such as the stress hormones, adrenalin and cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, and melatonin, a hormone secreted during darkness by the pineal gland in the brain, which helps regulate sleep cycles.

Knowing how your internal body clock works can help you make the most of your waking hours.  It is quite natural for some people to want to wake up early and get on with the day - larks.  While others prefer to take more time and find they function better later in the day - intermediaries and owls.

A survey of over 400 adults showed approximately 15% of us are morning people - larks.  While 25% are evening people - owls.  But most of us are in the middle - 60% are intermediates.  

Sadly, prejudice abounds around owls and larks - a little like it used to be around right- and left-handedness. But in today's 24/7 society, owls may be coming into their own.  About time too! We need to get away from the concept that larks are are somehow A people and owls are B people. We are working at erasing other prejudices, maybe it is time to tackle this one.

It is possible that the body clock changes during our lives and that larks can become an owls and vice versa.  And it may be that light therapy can help extreme owls who find their body clocks interfere with the way they want to live their lives.  But, what a pity, for "Blessed are the owls, for they shall inherit the mystery and magic of the night." (Hilary Rubinstein The Complete Insomniac " - For all those who have tossed and turned their way through sleepless nights, a Bedside Book with a difference - a highly entertaining yet informative anthology on sleep)

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level.Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

Coming shortly - the WiseWolf Career and Personal Development Network - if you would like to know more email

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