it's certinaly helpful to have them on a consistent time, this is how it is in the natural world.
, get yourself a timer, a cheap dial timer can be purchased for less than $10 at a hardware store.
What i have, is two timers, one for my Actinic lights and one for my daylight bulbs.
My Actinics come on for one hour by themselves, then my daylights come on and they are both on for 10 hours. Then my daylights shut off and leave my actinics still on for another hour. Then full darkness for 12 hours.
My tank seems pretty happy with the schedule.