Life time – how to change your sleep

We want to believe that we can be the creatures of the sun the and At night, if we stand in the dark and believe in the long working hours of life 24/7, minimal sleep and technology ads, it is determined by running in the middle of the night.

In fact, Oxford University neurobiologist Russell Foster insists all my lifewe are “do not We can do whatever we want at any time. Our biology is governed by a 24-hour biological clock, which advises us on the most appropriate time to eat, sleep, think, and perform many other tasks.

Located between a science book and a lifestyle guide, this is a comprehensive manifesto of living in harmony with our physical clocks, written by someone who has dedicated his career to studying them. Chasing perfect synchronicity not only increases happiness and mental acuity, but also reduces the risk of diseases such as obesity and diabetes, he says.

Foster made a name for himself in the 1990s with his sensational discovery that the eye contains light-sensitive cells. On the contrary, these cells are the key to regulating circadian rhythms (circadian means a 24-hour cycle), allowing the body to determine whether it is night or day by the level of light. Light signals are sent to the “main clock” located in an area of ​​the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei, and then synchronized with the external environment.

This process, he writes, sets out the schedule of our internal affairs: “In order for our body to function properly, we need the right materials in the right place, in the right amount, at the right time of day.” This involves turning thousands of genes on and off in a specific order. “Proteins, enzymes, fats, carbohydrates, hormones, and other compounds must be absorbed, broken down, metabolized, and produced in a timely manner for growth, reproduction, metabolism, movement, memory, defense, and tissue repair.”

Sleep is, of course, an important component of this schedule. During sleep, our body repairs itself, releases toxins, develops ideas, and leaves memories. Centuries of research have not fully revealed its secrets, such as why we spend 36 percent of our lives asleep. There is not even a generally accepted definition of what shuteye is; Foster describes it as a period of physical inactivity that allows for some unsatisfactory but important biological activity.

But a vague understanding does not mean that we cannot sleep better and smarter, and that is its power all my life. While the sections, which cover topics such as the dangers of shift work and the best time to eat, take us deeper into research, abbreviations, and more, they are covered by simple, friendly Q&A sections that we all want to address as soon as possible. – Current answers.

Does melatonin work for jet lag? This is moderate for some, but not for others. Foster avoids it, preferring to use light exposure to reset the body clock, depending on whether he is traveling east or west in time frames.

Does a disturbed sleep pattern called SCRD or sleep and circadian rhythms increase the risk of Covid infection? Emerging studies show that night shift workers with SCRD have higher rates of infection and hospitalization, and given that the immune system is subject to circadian regulation, a reference study is required.

Parents of teen owls and older readers who are tired of going to the bathroom at night understand how sleep patterns change with age. There is also a useful questionnaire to determine your “chronotype” or whether you are human in the morning or in the evening.

However, the genius of consumers is sometimes accompanied by a serious message for politicians, accompanied by “fatherly humor”: “Society’s rejection of the science of circadian rhythms misses a huge waste of resources and a great opportunity to improve health. at every level. ”

all my life: The new science of the physical clock and how it can change your sleep and health By Russell Foster, Penguin Life, £ 16.99, 480 pages

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