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Posts Tagged ‘jet lag’

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

Inadequate sleep can lead to overeating, weight gain in as little as a week: U.S. study

April 12th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

By Elizabeth Foster

Losing a few hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain, a new study has shown, and effects can be seen after just a week

Losing just a few hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain, a new study has shown, and effects can be seen after only a week’s worth of bad rest.

The findings, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, outline the connection between insufficient sleep and overeating.

Hit the gym or toss & turn: Sleep quality tied by ‘compelling association’ to exercise levels: U.S. experts

On the heels of news that Canada’s adult obesity rates have reached historic highs, a new study offers some extra incentive to hit the gym: a better night’s sleep.

Researchers have discovered a “compelling association” between weekly physical activity and improved sleep quality – including reduced incidences of sleep apnea and insomnia – according to a report released Monday. The relationship is so strong, in fact, they say simply adding 10 minutes of walking to your day is likely to improve your Zs.

“There is a relationship there, and it’s sequentially greater as people exercise more,” said Max Hirshkowitz, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and a sleep researcher with more than three decades in the field. “Really, it confirms what should be common sense.”

Researchers from the University of Colorado studied 16 healthy men and women for a two-week period. The subjects’ eating habits, metabolism and sleeping patterns were tracked in a completely controlled environment. By documenting every mouthful of food and wink of sleep, researchers were able to determine that losing just a few hours of sleep for a few nights a week can lead to significant weight gain.

In the study’s first week, half of the subjects were given a nine-hour sleep schedule. The other half were given only five hours of sleep each night. All of the subjects were given unlimited access to food.

In the second week of the study, the subjects’ schedules were flipped. Those that had been getting a full night’s sleep were put on the five-hour schedule and the sleepier subjects were switched to nine-hour nights.

Researchers found that when subjects were sleep-deprived, they ate far more than their well-rested counterparts. At the end of the first week, the subjects getting just five hours of sleep each night had gained an average of two pounds. During the second week of the experiment, the group that was switched from nine hours of sleep to five hours also gained weight.

‘We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep, they overeat carbohydrates’

Kenneth Wright, the director of the university’s sleep and chronobiology laboratory, told the New York Times that the change in eating habits that takes place when we’re tired is partly attributable to behavioural factors, and partly to biological ones.

“We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep, they overeat carbohydrates,” he said. “They ate more food [in total], and when they ate food also changed. They ate a smaller breakfast and they ate a lot more after dinner.”

He concludes that the lack of sleep changes subjects’ internal clocks, similar to the effect of jet lag.

“They were awake three hours before their internal nighttime had ended,” Wright said. “Being awakened during their biological night is probably why they ended up eating smaller breakfasts.” That change led to late night snacking, and a 6% overall increase in caloric intake.

Researchers were confident the connection between loss of sleep and weight gain would carry over to the real world, although the results may be less pronounced outside of the experiment’s carefully controlled environment. They said further research is needed to determine the connection between long-term sleep deprivation and weight gain, and especially how a lack of rest can affect our eating habits.

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.

Our 24-hour cycle called circadian rhythms

August 24th, 2010 admin

So, are you piling up frequent flyer miles as a true Road Warrior or are you just a casual traveler? Either way you are likely to experience the phenomenon of “jet lag,” which can have a profound effect on your sleep and is one of the most common sleep disorders. Many people for years considered “Jet Lag” to merely be a state of mind. Now, studies have shown that the condition actually results from an imbalance in our body’s natural “biological clock” caused by traveling to different time zones. Basically, our bodies work on a 24-hour cycle called “circadian rhythms.” These rhythms are measured by the distinct rise and fall of body temperature, plasma levels of certain hormones and other biological conditions. All of these are influenced by our exposure to sunlight and help determine when we sleep and when we wake.

When traveling to a new time zone, our circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it’s actually the middle of the afternoon, or it makes us want to stay awake when it is late at night-this experience is known as “Jet Lag”.

TREATMENT:

Some simple behavioral adjustments before, during and after arrival at your destination can help minimize some of the side effects of jet lag.

Select a flight that allows early evening arrival and stay up until 10 p.m. local time. (If you must sleep during the day, take a short nap in the early afternoon, but no longer than two hours. Set an alarm to be sure not to over sleep.)
Anticipate the time change for trips by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip and later for a westward trip.
Upon boarding the plane, change your watch to the destination time zone.
Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime. Both act as “stimulants” and prevent sleep.
Upon arrival at a destination, avoid heavy meals (a snack—not chocolate—is okay).
Avoid any heavy exercise close to bedtime. (Light exercise earlier in the day is fine.)
Bring earplugs and blindfolds to help dampen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping.
Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. (Staying indoors worsens jet lag.)
Contrary to popular belief, the type of foods we eat have no effect on minimizing jet lag.

Fatigue is the best pillow. ~Benjamin Franklin