Brain Function

January 5, 2013

Internal Time

Till Roennberg’s new book Internal Time has some fascinating insights into the way our bodies keep track of time. Many of these ideas apply to ordinary work day situations that we all experience. It is important that we understand how the biological clock works and how it differs from individual to individual. This is especially important in dangerous workplaces. At BLT we strive to understand this

In one of our clinical trials at University of San Francisco we kept a group of health undergraduates up for one night. About 60% of the group were fine in the morning and did reasonably well on the test we were using at that time. But the remaining 40% showed a significant decline in performance. One individual was so exhausted and distraught as to be unable to take the test at all. Everyone got a ride home with a fully rested driver but that particular person was really unsafe.

The point is, it is surprisingly hard to know how sleep deprivation is going to affect a person. We also know there are “early birds” who are at their best just after they wake up and there are those who take hours to really wake up. Add in individual variation day to day and you can see why projecting optimal personal schedules is complex. But it is something we are working on and I expect to have some preliminary offerings soon.