Thursday, September 20, 2007

the fascinating body clock

i'm sure all of you, like i, have had this experience in school. we normally would have to be dragged/threatened/thrashed out of bed, but on the day we are going out on a school picnic we are out of our beds in a flash at some unearthly hour; even if we managed to sleep only a couple of hours earlier!

in fact most of the time, if you've noticed, when we want to wake up for something really important or for something really exciting or something we are looking forward to, we manage to wake up just before the alarm goes off. and this is in stark contrast to the umpteen number of times when we sleep through the blaring which has managed to wake up the rest of the household and some neighbors too!

all of us have experienced this fascinating body clock within us at some point of time or the other. its only recently when i started travelling abroad that i realised that our bodies don't strictly follow the time according to the watches on our wrist but has its own internal clock which is ticking away (like a time bomb?). earlier, i could never appreciate 'jet lag' which is just our body clock trying to sync itself with the watch on your wrist.

i recently learnt that there is a technical term for this internal body clock - circadian rhythm.

this only further reinforces the ancient vedantic pronouncement that time exists only in the mind; and the true measure of time is the gap between thoughts. swami chinmayananda used to say that time can be measured only after the 'second' thought and that is possibly why time is measured in seconds and not in 'firsts'!

(click here for an interesting perspective of time from a vedic standpoint -


~nm said...

This is so very true "when we want to wake up for something really important or for something really exciting or something we are looking forward to, we manage to wake up just before the alarm goes off."

And where did the earlier post go?

Anonymous said...

Anaadi!! Without a beginning or an end...Very interesting reading it was - The concept of Time!

I remember, that as a child, I was always told by my mother to "Ask my pillow to wake me up" at a given time.

I however used to tell my pillow to wake me up at a given time only on special occasions (like the much awaited picnics / excursions you'd mentioned). I personally believe that the Circadian Rhythm does exist. Earlier when I was being coached at my school for Kho-Kho and baseball teams, I used to report dot at 5:00 am. Only the first 10 days, I consciously asked my pillow to wake me up. Thereafter, I never needed to... It had become an automated 'habit' to open my eyes at 4:00 am every single morning till the coaching lasted.

As the lifestyle changed and I was no longer into such sports, I slowly transformed into an 'OWL' from the 'LARK'. As of today, My Circadian Rhythm has less to do with my "Pillow Alarm" but more with the exact time that my excretory system (pardon the reference... I didn't have a choice but to be so specific here) forces me out of my bed to relieve myself. At 7:30 every morning, I practically sleep-jump out of my bed (with my eyes closed until I come out) and head straight for the loo. Once i come back, my owl-instinct sends me back to bed under the quilt. I do it, but I am wide awake by then!

I have noticed this that whenever, I am travelling out of town or even spend the night at one of my friends' places, my body clock either wakes me up well before 7:30 am or simply doesn't wake me up until noon!!

Wonder what else the body-clock adjusts itself to...


Puneet said...

Mr. Guruprasad,

Never have i been so facinated by all the messages you've shared on this blog till now... Following this i am deeply interested in having a one-to-one dialogue with you on a regular basis about the depths of our ancient hindu manuscripts which contain the priceless and timeless gems that have been sonmewhere blurred by the 400 years of slavery we had to go thru.

Coming to this particular thought on the vedic interpretation of time, I must say that it UNDOUBTEDLY was an eye-opener on the various units our rishi-munis were able to define simply by the power of their mind. And it once again proves the quotes of the Great sages like Swami Ramdev that "The limits of Indian Sciences begin where the western science begins to see nothing ahead".

I shall strongly look forward to your acceptance of my invite to dig deeper into these Eternal secrets of mankind which come directly from The Brahma via the divine vision of our sages thru ages and ages of meditation in the Himalays.... Puneet Sharma 9871105533

nani said...

........phew......things really heating up here.........
would like to be a part of that too.