It's about Time
The recent daylight savings time change highlighted a big challenge to the Paleo lifestyle that has long bothered me: the very time we keep is unnatural and unhealthy.
For primal humans, time was simply a function of the sun's position in the sky relative to each individual, and even now our bodies' circadian rhythms are naturally set to our individual solar time.This is the time primal humans lived by: when the sun is directly over YOUR head, your unique solar time will be noon, for example. Yet nowadays this link to the sun has been distorted by artificial constructs like time zones and daylight savings time. By planning our sleep, meals, workouts etc. by artificial modern time (as most of us do), we inadvertently throw our circadian rhythms off kilter every day, with detrimental effects to our health.
Anyway, has the dichotomy between modern and primal time has occurred to/bothered anyone else? Anyone have any strategies for coping with modern time distortions (carrying a sundial around, maybe)?
(Shameless plug: I recently got together with another like-minded paleo/geek friend and programmed an app for Android phones that displays users' unique solar time, based on their precise real-time position relative to the sun. We've thrown the app up on the Android market for free and without ads, to help out fellow Paleos who want to live by their natural solar time. You can check us out at anatimi)
Nice work on the app. I've been using this webpage: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/
but the interface is pretty clunky. It would be MUCH faster is you could just type in your zip code. I started thinking about solar noon about a year or more ago when I was thinking about getting vitamin D naturally. I try to go outside close to solar noon and if possible lay out for a few minutes then.
Are you doing a version for the iPhone?
Yodiewan, thanks so much for that link. Until now I had been reckoning using dawn and dusk which is much less accurate.
I find that exposing myself to sunlight as close to solar noon as possible helps maintain my circadian rhythm. When I can't get outside during the day, I have a harder time falling asleep and staying that way.
"We've thrown the app up on the Android market for free and without ads, to help out fellow Paleos who want to live by their natural solar time."
The app doesn't look like it's free, in fact it looks like it costs $1.99.
No problem. I think it's helpful for people like me who work desk jobs and don't see much of the sun to get the most bang for our buck. I also found this one that allows you to print solar noon times for the whole year: Print A Solar Noon Calendar for every day in the year for your exact location
Originally Posted by Timothy
Last edited by yodiewan; 11-07-2011 at 06:16 PM.
I don't know if I totally buy the natural time thing completely. Humans are cultural and there's no reason to think we didn't hang around the fire dancing and playing musical instruments or telling stories late into the evening. Some cultures sleep in groups with people waking up for a while during the night for socializing, then returning to bed a few hours later.
When I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail I often went to sleep at night well before the sky was dark and sometimes even before the sun was set. Some nights I spent hours awake because the moon is extraordinarily bright when there are no competing lights in the sky. It was almost daylight some nights. Even the birds would be fooled sometimes. Meanwhile, I noticed that the sun was most vertical around 1pm, not noon, and that it's hottest late in the afternoon, not at mid-day.
My point is our assumptions about the sun, the night, sleep and circadian rhythms are probably full of falsehoods.
My dairy goats keep me on real time.
The natural solar time app is absolutely free:
Originally Posted by Dracil
Glamorama, we do have an iPhone version in the works (although programming for Apple isn't nearly as fun ). I'll be sure to spread the word when it comes through!