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Posts Tagged ‘biological clock’

Winter, sleep and your circadian rhythms

January 19th, 2015 Raquel Rothe
American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Nov 13, 2014
Unlike animals, humans do not need to hibernate during the winter. It may feel like you need more sleep during the winter months because the days get shorter. However, your actual sleep need does not increase.

It is normal for sleep habits and activity cycles to change a bit as the seasons change, according to Dr. Emerson M. Wickwire, Sleep Medicine Program Director at Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Associates in Columbia, Md., assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue or a noticeable change in your mood, irritability or ability to think or remember clearly, then you should talk to a board-certified sleep physician.

“The biggest mistake that people make when it comes to sleeping in winter is ignoring their body’s natural rhythm. Even if you’re tempted to stay in bed or on the couch all day long, unless you are sick it’s a good idea to get up and move around.”

Staying in bed or on the couch all day long when you’re not sick may throw off your circadian rhythms. The visual cues of light and darkness “set” this internal clock keeping it synchronized to a 24-hour cycle.

A number of sleep disorders that are linked to misaligned circadian rhythms including insomniajet lag andshift work disorder. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been blamed for depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, which is more common in the winter.

WINTER SLEEP TIPS

  • Increase exposure to light
  • increase or maintain physical activity
  • Use a humidifier or nasal rinse to keep your airway passages from drying out
  • Make sure that your bedroom is not too warm or too cold

Sleep Deprivation Effect on the Immune System Mirrors Physical Stress

July 30th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Quiz: What Do Your Dreams Say About You?

February 26th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Identifying Insomnia Early

February 7th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

“Approximately a quarter of the adult population have sleeping problems and an estimated 6-10% have an insomnia disorder”

http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/sleep_report/2012-02-01_01.asp


NSF reports a gene that regulates how long we sleep

January 8th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

21 Easy Tweaks for the New Year

January 3rd, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Researchers Trail Twitter to Track World’s Mood Swings: Work, Sleep and Daylight Play Role

November 5th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Researchers Trail Twitter to Track World’s Mood Swings: Work, Sleep and Daylight Play Role

October 18, 2011

Using Twitter to monitor the attitudes of 2.4 million people in 84 countries, Cornell University researchers found that people all over the world awaken in a good mood – but globally that cheer soon deteriorates once the workday progresses.

By tracking Twitter tweets over two-years, researchers determined that work, sleep and the amount of daylight all play a role in shaping cyclical emotions such as enthusiasm, delight, alertness, distress, fear and anger.

Researchers have long known about these affective rhythms, but have relied on small homogeneous samples and have had no practical means for hourly and long-term observation of individual behavior in large and culturally diverse populations. Before the rise of social media, these kinds of results were inconclusive, according to the researchers Scott Golder, Cornell graduate student in sociology; and Michael Macy, Cornell professor of sociology. Their paper, “Diurnal and Seasonal Mood Tracks Work, Sleep and Daylength Across Diverse Cultures,” was published in the journal Science.

Using Twitter in conjunction with language monitoring software, Golder and Macy discovered two daily peaks in which tweets represented a positive attitude – relatively early in the morning and again near midnight, suggesting mood may be shaped by work-related stress. Positive tweets were also more abundant on Saturdays and Sundays, with the morning peaks occurring about two hours later in the day. This implies people awaken later on weekends.

These patterns were reflected in cultures and countries throughout the world, but shifted with the difference in time and work schedule. For example, positive tweets and late-morning mood peaks were more prominent on Fridays and Saturdays in the United Arab Emirates, where the traditional workweek is Sunday through Thursday, according to the paper.

Golder and Macy also tracked global attitude on a seasonal basis to determine if “winter blues” is represented in Twitter messages. While no correlation was discovered between absolute daylight and mood, there was a correlation when examining relative daylight, such as the gradually decreasing daylength between the summer and winter solstices.

From: National Sleep Foundation publication

Childhood Obesity and Bedtime Preference

October 28th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

A study published in the October issue of the journal SLEEP from American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

http://sleepeducation.blogspot.com/2011/10/childhood-obesity-and-bedtime.html

“Scientists have realized in recent years that children who get less sleep tend to do worse on a variety of health outcomes, including the risk of being overweight and obese,” said study co-author Carol Maher, PhD. “[The study] suggests that the timing of sleep is even more important.”

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#9

June 26th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Jet lag

Jet lag is a temporary condition that is caused by rapid travel across time zones — as may occur with jet trips — and may leave an individual experiencing fatigue, insomnia, nausea, or other symptoms as a result of the internal circadian rhythm, or biological clock, being misaligned with local time.

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#1

May 9th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Zeitgeber

From the German for “time giver,” zeitgeber refers to any external cue that can entrain (or reset) the time-keeping system of organisms. In humans, this circadian system, or biological clock, is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus within the hypothalamus of the brain. This system is affected by zeitgebers. These cues follow a periodic pattern. The strongest zeitgeber is the natural pattern of light and darkness.