The reason we feel so great when we're on a regular sleep cycle is because we're setting our circadian rhythm — the tiny master clock structure in our brain that is filled with nerve cells and is the pattern of sleep and awake cycles, affected by light. What's interesting to note is that people who live in complete darkness (hello — Reykjavik in the Winter!) are still able to adjust to a 25-hour clock with regular sleeping and waking patterns. Here's what the natural daily circadian rhythm looks like.
If you're getting ready to cross time zones, new research suggests that fasting may help you deal with jet lag. While it's true that light regulates the circadian rhythm, an internal clock that determines when you sleep, wake, and eat, there may be a second internal clock that takes over when your body thinks food is scarce.
It takes 16 hours of fasting to kick this clock into gear, and manipulating this clock by denying yourself food may help to adjust to a new time zone. Scientists experimented with this concept by offering food to mice only during times when they were supposed to be sleeping. Eventually, the mice that adjusted to this new eating schedule remained awake at nighttime in order to eat. Since we are mammals too, scientists think this strategy may work on humans as well.
It may be worth a try if you're traveling across the globe, but personally, I think not eating is a bad idea. Not only will it screw up your metabolism, but it'll make you cranky, dizzy, and give you a headache, which will only worsen your symptoms of jet lag.
It is time to change our clocks again this Sunday. That means that at 2 a.m. on November 4, you've got to set your clock back one hour. The saying, "Spring forward and fall back," always helps me remember which way the clocks go.
It's great that we gain an hour, but a new study shows that our bodies don't adjust well to the time shift. Although it's just a one hour difference, our natural clock (known as circadian rhythm), may take up to four weeks to adjust in the Spring and another six weeks to adjust in the Fall.
There have only been a few studies on the connection between Daylight Savings Time and human circadian rhythms, so it's not yet known if the constant changing has any significant long-term effects on our health. Hopefully this subject will be studied soon.
Since gaining an hour will definitely mess with your internal clock, be sure to listen to your body's needs. Eat and sleep when your body wants to, and gradually shift your old schedule back an hour. It may take a few days, or even a few weeks for things to feel normal again.
Fit's Tip: When you change your clocks back, don't forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
People seem split on this time change and I am curious to know how you feel about gaining an hour? Tell me how you feel in the comment section below.
We all have a biological clock, and I am not talking about the biological clock some women refer to when discussing the sudden need to have a baby. I am talking about the daily clock of the circadian rhythm, the energy ups and downs we all experience through out the day.
Scientist have located the clock that controls the circadian rhythm. It is actually a pair of pinhead-sized structures that together contain about 20,000 neurons, that is housed deep on our brains, near the optical nerve. Animals, plants and microbes display circadian rhythms; it's part of deep biology. While circadian rhythm, the pattern of sleep and awake cycles, is affected by light, but people living in complete darkness will adjust to a 25 hour clock with normal sleep / wake patterns. Personally, I would not like to be a subject in a study that determined this.
Want to know how the circadian rhythm works throughout your day? then read more
This Sunday is Daylight Savings Time. That means that at 2 am on March 11, the clocks skip ahead 1 hour. Remember the saying - "Spring forward and Fall back."
Losing one hour of sleep can really screw up your circadian rhythm (your body's inner clock), so you might want to think about easing into it.
On the day before, try going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier. You can also adjust your mealtime schedule and eat an hour earlier.
Before you go to sleep on Saturday night, set all the clocks in your house ahead 1 hour. That way, when you wake up on Sunday morning, it won't be so obvious that you lost an hour.
On that Sunday, avoid taking a nap to make up for the hour you lost. It'll only make it harder to get to sleep on Sunday night.
On that Monday, try to keep your schedule light. You might be feeling tired and cranky, so if you have less to do, it'll give your body time to relax and adjust.
Fit's Tips: Don't forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors too.