When it comes to recharging your energy, understanding the different rhythms humans experience is key.
In this post, you’ll learn about the oft-ignored ultradian rhythms and how they affect your energy.
What are the Different Types of Rhythms?
In general, there are three different types of rhythms based on their time intervals: infradian, circadian, and ultradian.
When it comes to cycles and rhythms longer than a day. The best-known example from human biology is the menstrual cycle. Watch the members-only masterclass about syncing your menstrual cycle here.
When you’re speaking about daily, roughly 24-hour periods, circadian rhythms come into play. They’re important in your biological clock and sleep-wake cycles, including the production of melatonin. Click here to listen to the members-only audio training about sleep and circadian rhythms.
What about cycles that are shorter than a day? That’s where ultradian (ul-tray-dee-an) rhythms come in.
The most well-known ultradian rhythms are sleep cycles. During sleep, we experience shorter cycles of deeper and lighter sleep. These cycles take approximately 90 minutes.
So here’s the question: If we experience these 90-minute cycles during the night, wouldn’t it make sense that we experience them during the day, too?
About Your Daytime Energy
There’s a good chance you’re up and active during the day (as opposed to lying down and resting…though that sounds nice sometimes), whether you’re working, eating, studying, or running errands.
And if you’re like most people, you probably expect to power through your work without much of a break. In fact, you might get upset at yourself for not being mega-productive after a couple hours concentrating on a task. Or, you may find yourself more likely to scroll social media mindlessly or jump around on tasks without accomplishing much.
It’s not “just you.” Consider these ultradian fluctuations and how you can take breaks throughout your day.
Now, daytime fatigue is something totally different. If you’re falling asleep after a processed carb-heavy meal or because you only got 4 hours of sleep or you’re dehydrated, that’s one thing. But if you’re pushing yourself without taking breaks – or the breaks you do get aren’t renewing – that’s something else entirely.
Consider short breaks, even something as simple as a brief walk, sitting outside, getting some tea, or taking a break from electronics, after 90-120 minutes of focused work time.
For the next few days, practice more mindfulness with your energy levels. You may want to journal the answers to these questions:
- How often do I take short breaks throughout the day?
- During these breaks, what am I doing?
- On a scale of 1-10, how refreshed do I feel after my breaks?
- Do I have more energy for deep-thinking / focused / creative tasks in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
- After I’ve been working for 1.5-2+ hours, how productive am I really?
- How do I tend to feel at the end of an average day? (Ready to wind down but feeling accomplished? Feeling like I worked all day but got nothing done? Something else?)
- What are some of the most common drains on my energy?