The Secret Life of Your Bodyclock

2009, Science  -   16 Comments
Ratings: 6.57/10 from 7 users.

The Secret Life of Your BodyclockWhy are you more likely to have a heart attack at eight o'clock in the morning or crash your car on the motorway at two o'clock in the afternoon?

Can taking your medication at the right time of day really save your life? And have you ever wondered why teenagers will not get out of bed in the morning? The answers to these questions lie in the secret world of the biological clock.

The general message of The Secret Life of Your Body Clock was that a large number of ticking clocks exist in our organs, and that we ignore them at our peril. Being human, of course, we are indeed ignoring them with something approaching naked glee.

The chronobiologists took us through their own 24-hour personal organizer in order to show how we have honed an entire working culture fully dedicated to cocking a gigantic snook at our own body clocks.

We stick to rigid working hours when some of us are pre-programmed larks and some owls. We jump in cars after lunch, when micro-sleeps are what the body desires.

We work night shifts when a whole slew of pathologies are more common from overnight exertion (and between 2.00-4.00am is when most people die). In short, we have as unhappy a relationship with timekeeping as the White Rabbit.

More great documentaries

16 Comments / User Reviews

  1. William Christopher Schauer

    Interesting that they said that your body isn't ready for a high glucose level when it's going to sleep- isn't your body repairing itself while you sleep? Shouldn't we seek out a way to maximize that healing process? And the way we ate an hundred years ago couldn't be that good for us when we were smack in-between famines and nutritional science, right? Maybe there should be a documentary about THE BREAKFAST CONSPIRACY... KEEP CALM AND CARBOHYDRATE ON!

  2. kompikos

    I've been trying to adjust my body-clock since I can remember and it's proving to be very difficult. My life pattern never seems to suit it.

  3. Matt van den Ham

    Another brilliant BBC documentary. BBC has some of the best documentaries...the Brits are so clever.

    I agree that children require more sleep and should start school later. I remember basically just sleeping the whole morning away in class and I'd only start to get going by the time school was done. I'm now 30 and I require far less sleep. Probably because the human body is undergoing such drastic changes during the teens that the body requires a lot more sleep. You physically grow the most in your teens out of any age period in the lifespan.

  4. Marcus Anthony

    Unfortunetaly this study done with the children of the two tests, one in the morning and one in the evening, is very flawed (though I'm sure there are far more controled experiments done, just this one fails) - Because- all of the mental stimulation the children recieved throughout the morning (such as taking that first test, and the rest of their classes) would get the mental reasoning/processing/eidetic memory, etc all warmed up..

    A more controlled test would be to let the children sleep in as they choose, wake up on their own time (later in the morning, or in the afternoon, whenever they awaken) and see if they test higher right then..

    hrm.. yay for flawed science..

  5. Rachelnico

    Interesting, but didn't really have any amazing information that would change anything about my sleeping patterns. I think there was another documentary on this website about sleep and your internal clock that was way better.

  6. Denish Dens

    I reckon body clock doesn't work for night shift workers like me. There is no light when i wake up every evening and come back home before sunrise.

    I wish someone should research the behavior of night shift worker and their body clock.

  7. fasffeaf geamna

    I think this was a good documentary but it was missing a lot of information.. hormonal changes are the main causes of teenagers sleeping in melatonin and serotonin are in completely different levels in teens than adults, not just random changes due to age.. and I couldn't even believe what he was telling us when he said that you should drink coffee and then take a nap!!! Take a nap and skip the coffee, coffee messes up are circadian rhythms, (body clock), like all caffeine does! Also the after lunch dip is caused by digestion not by are body clock, have a small lunch tomorrow and notice how much more energy you have, eating a lot makes us sleepy, how can a scientist forget that?

    1. Marcus Anthony

      not just random changes due to age.." uhm.. random changes due to age are because of hormones.. they didnt go into detail about that, but there really is no such thing as Random changes and they never states as much..

  8. Yavanna

    I enjoyed that. Though some commenters are saying its obvious stuff, it does include some science and interesting facts in a cohesive well thought out doc, marvellously narrated by King Theoden 8/10

  9. capriciouz

    For fellow long-time, ultimate TDF whores like myself:

    I am pretty sure this is either a repost or is a piece of another doc already posted on here a year+ ago. I know I have seen this on TDF before.

    Still a very good documentary regardless. 5 stars.

  10. Heather Wade

    I love your website Vlatko!

  11. alans

    Finally, they are talking about what I knew all along! Amazing!

  12. Teddy Mcd

    Eat when you are hungry - Sleep when you are tired - Drink at all other times.

    Joking aside I think the tradition of Siesta (afternoon sleep) as is still done in Seville Spain, parts of Mexico and elsewhere in the world has to be refreshing to those lucky enough to partake. Tho' most cultures frown upon a two-three hour afternoon snooze I believe they should permit at least a ten minute power nap to recharge the bio-batteries. (with milk and cookies)

    Also the appropriate time to administer drugs as mentioned in relation to chemo-therapy I found fascinating and intuitively correct and this then must be so for other meds.

    Final point - the results of the study that shone light on the best time to teach teens is when their neural network is most receptive and mnemonic capabilities are at their peak did not surprise me but what did surprise me is why our educators didn't notice this before.

    1. PaulGloor

      I think they had probably noticed. Tardiness, irritability, falling asleep in class, short attention spans etc. While I was a morning person, up with the sun and in a good mood, I used to always start crashing around 2-3pm during the winter season.

    2. Guest

      Earl, an english teacher here in Nelson Bc had a couch in his class, he figured if a student is too tired for his class he can nap in order to be awake and attentive for the following ones.
      He is now working for SelfDesign High School!
      Thumbs up to you for all that you do/did for Nelson's kids!

  13. Frank

    interesing name but most of it is common sense.