Underneath all of your daily routines is an internal clock (a.k.a. circadian rhythm) that times it all out. “But, wait, isn’t time a human invention?” No. You’re wrong. So very, very wrong. Recent studies have shown that your body clock may be determined from birth, but once you understand it, you’ll be able to perform better on exams, in clinical rotations, and in life. See how wrong you were there? Great, here are some ways you can optimize your body clock:

Work When You’re Sleepy for More Creative Thinking

Have you ever have a crazy idea just as you were about to fall asleep? Then that idea turned out to be really crazy in hindsight? What about the ones that didn’t? Why am I asking so many questions? It may sound counterintuitive but sleepiness actually inspires more creativity. Haven’t you felt like you got your best ideas in the morning while you wake up? Like the hammer knife? A hammer and a knife all in one. Okay, bad example, but you get the point. That’s because when you’re sleepy, your brain will make connections that wouldn’t happen while you’re wide awake. Of course, if you’re in the middle of an operation, you should probably best err on the side of being more awake. You know. Malpractice.

Skip Late Night Snacks: Eat When You’re Active

Ever see Gremlins? Great movie with a great metaphor. Eating snacks after midnight turns you into a gremlin (at least I think that’s what the point was). Your metabolism is the most important function in your body to regulate your weight. It so happens that your circadian rhythm is connected to your metabolism and, if you eat when you’re least active, it could result in a metabolism imbalance. Keep your meals within the eight hour timeframe you’re most active during the day.

Sleep According to Your Age

You could be a night owl or an early bird but, whatever the avian metaphor , your age is one of the major determinants of how much sleep is the right amount of sleep. Merely sleeping eight hours a night won’t do the job. Between your 20s and mid-50s, you’ll become more and more inclined to wake up early. During your teens, however, you’re predisposed to sleep more. So, unless you’re permanently stuck in puberty, you really don’t have an excuse for sleeping in all the time.

3PM – 6PM: The Golden Time to Exercise

You may go to the gym early in the morning or later at night but, come on, we all know that’s creative thinking time (unless you didn’t read the first part of this list). Our muscle strength peaks between 2PM and 6PM so this is the ideal time to get a run in or lift some weights. Also, your hand eye coordination is best at this time too. You can use that to your advantage and finally beat Dark Souls or you could beat your old mile run time. The choice is yours. But, really, the only choice here is to exercise. Because no one will ever beat Dark Souls. No one.

Want to put your health to the test? Take this quiz and see how healthy you really are: http://www.playbuzz.com/brettackerman10/how-healthy-are-you