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What is 'body clock dating' and how can it help you gain confidence?

Couple dating drinking espressos and eating dessert at cafe
Even if you and the person you're dating operate on different body clocks, you can still make things work for you. (Getty Images)

As the seasons change and the clocks go back, our love lives can start to look a little different too. New research shows that two-thirds (63%) of singletons take on a new attitude to dating when summer gives way to autumn and winter.

According to dating app Badoo, three-quarters of daters (76%) say there is a time that they feel their best, which affects when they choose to go on dates or if they feel like flirting over the app.

The dating trend, known as "body clock dating", shows that most people (81%) feel more confident when they date and message within their preferred time frame, no matter which time of day they prefer. However, when dates are organised outside of this time frame, nearly two-thirds (60%) said this makes them feel more anxious.

Badoo’s research also revealed that the majority (81%) of respondents agree it would be helpful to know a potential match’s body clock before asking them on a date. Two in five (38%) said this knowledge would give them a better idea of what kind of date to suggest, while more than a third (36%) said they would know when the best time to start a conversation is.

The percentage of singletons who prefer the evening was higher (38%) than those who prefer the morning (27%), with the rest (35%) happy to chat and meet up in the afternoon. However, while most dates tend to occur in the evening, more than half (53%) admitted they would suggest an evening date even if it’s not what they prefer.

Commenting on the findings, Persia Lawson said: "One area of life that our body clock has a notable impact on is our love life. Depending on an individual’s circadian rhythm, they might feel more energetic and alert at specific times of the day, and as a result, prefer to message in line with their body clock - and engage in certain dating activities over others."

She continued: "However, it’s important to note that just because you and the person you’re interested in dating might have different 'dating body clocks', this doesn’t have to get in the way of your courtship - so long as you factor your varying body clocks into your romantic rhythm."

What is a body clock?

The term "body clock" refers to your body's natural circadian rhythm, which are 24-hour cycles that run in the background and help your body carry out processes at certain times of the day.

Your body’s internal clock can be directly influenced by the environment, particularly light. This is why you might feel more awake during the summer when the daylight hours are longer, and more sleepy in the winter when it stays dark for longer.

A middle-aged couple smile as they look out on the horizon after hiking
For early birds, dating earlier in the day can make them feel more confident and happier. (Getty Images)

According to the Sleep Foundation, the circadian rhythm helps coordinate mental and physical body systems throughout the day.

It can also impact your libido, as research shows that sexual function may be impacted when the circadian rhythm is disrupted, whether it is due to a lack of sleep or by irregular sleep patterns.

How to make ‘body clock dating’ work for you

To help you make the most of the time of day you feel at your best, Lawson has the following recommendations:

Be upfront

Discuss your patterns with your potential love interest early on, so that both of you know what to expect. "For example, if one of you tends to message into the early hours and the other prefers to communicate in the morning, it would be useful to find this out sooner rather than later, so that you don’t get offended when your night owl doesn’t respond until much later in the day," Lawson said.

Watch: Vanilla dating: Everything you need to know about the new dating trend

Explore common ground

Even if your body clocks differ, you can still find plenty of activities for you and your date to enjoy - but the key is to be flexible and open to trying new things. "Afternoon dates could be a good compromise - the night owl gets a lie-in and the early bird could have this as the last part of their day before they start to wind down," Lawson suggested.

Schedule dates

Being spontaneous might sound romantic, but could end in disaster if you and your date have different internal body clocks. Lawson recommended experimenting with different timings and to try alternating your dates to accommodate one another.

Enjoy quality time

Focus on creating meaningful and enjoyable experiences when you are together. "And don’t overthink the fact that you run on different body clocks - plenty of happy couples do!” Lawson adds reassuringly.

"In fact, having different dating time zones could actually end up being a really positive aspect of your dynamic, as it will encourage you to get creative, think outside of the box, and embrace a broader range of activities and experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise get to enjoy."

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