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If you're just not a morning person, science says you may never be

https://www.vox.com/2016/3/18/11255942/morning-people-evening-chronotypes-sleeping

vox.com

If you're just not a morning person, science says you may never be
If Cassidy Sokolis ever needs to wake up before 11 am, she scatters three alarm clocks throughout her bedroom. Even then, she still often sleeps through the clamor. "It's really frustrating," Sokolis, a 21-year-old junior at Northern Arizona University, tells me. "People have mocked me for it, saying how lazy I am, that I'm not trying hard enough.

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Your Body is a Clock

Your Body is a Clock

Around 30 to 50 percent of people sleep between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am. Another 40 percents are either slightly morning people or slightly evening people.

To understand why some people are early birds while others are night owls, we have to take into consideration the body's circadian system.

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Early Bird or Night Owls

The body is an orchestra of organs, each providing an essential function. In this metaphor, the circadian rhythm is the conductor. The conductor makes every neurotransmitter, every hormone, and every chemical in the body cycle with the daily rhythm.

This makes us our sleep habits unique and tailored.

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Sleep Habits

Being a morning (or evening) person is inborn, genetic, and very hard to change.

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Tick Tock

Tick Tock
  • Every single cell of the body has clock genes, bits of DNA that flip on and off throughout the day.
  • Like the body as a whole, the cell's metabolism is scheduled for efficiency. Clock genes regulate the expression of between 5 and 20 percent of all the other genes in the cell.

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Social Jet Lag

When our personal clock is out of sync with the one of our society, our health suffers. 

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Less Sleep is dangerous

Less Sleep is dangerous

It has been associated with higher blood pressure, body mass index, and increased calcification of the coronary artery.

  • In lab experiments, people who slept only five hours a night for one week became less sensitive to insulin, which makes it harder to maintain blood sugar levels.
  • In an overnight sleep study of 1,024 individuals, poor sleep was associated with the misregulation of the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin.

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Jet lag

Jet Lag is a debility similar to a hangover. Jet Lag derives from the simple fact that jets travel so fast they leave your body rhythms behind.

Our biological clocks are synchronized to a 24-...

We take a few days to adjust

Our bodies take a few days to fully adjust, depending on not only how many time zones have been crossed, but also the direction of travel.

Usually, it would take five or six days to adjust to a six-hour shift in time zone. When you travel east, your body has a shorter time to synchronize with the regular 24-hour sun cycle. When you travel west, your body has extra time to adjust.

Speeding up the adjustment

Generally, the best way to fool your biological clock is to shift your internal rhythms before the flight.

  • Restrict light exposure to specific times.
  • Restrict rest and meals.
  • Adjust activities such as walking and running to specific times.
  • Use melatonin - the hormone that makes us sleepy - in small amounts. However, certain people should avoid melatonin.

The Circadian Rhythm

The Circadian Rhythm
  • The circadian rhythm is what we call our body's masterclock. It is the timekeeper of the body which keeps the cells in our body running smoothly, helps fights against ch...

Healthy Circadian Rhythm

Healthy circadian rhythms rely on regularity and stability— for the timing of light, the timing of exercise, and the timing of meals.

Our bodies are accustomed to the exposure of light and darkness on a regular basis. The circadian rhythm is reset on a daily basis and it is the one that determines the healthiness of our cellular health and sleeping patterns.

The Impact of Circadian Rhythms to Our Health

  • We slowly deteriorate our health whenever we disrupt the natural cycle of our circadian rhythm. It becomes disrupted with every late nights, irregular meal times, and using our phones in the middle of the night.
  • Extreme circadian instability is what happens when we do not take care of our internal clock. It often leads to a bunch of chronic health problems such as impaired immune function, obesity, and some forms of cancer.
  • The key to reduce the risk of health problems, stability is needed.

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Social Jet Lag

Irregular sleep schedules and broken sleep-wake times are not just an occasional traveling phenomenon, but a wider problem due to our social lives conflicting with our sleep patterns.

Our Internal Alarm Clock

Our internal body clocks are better programmed to help us sleep and wake up, according to our unique body chemistry and energy levels.

Ignoring our internal clocks in favor of the alarm clock, and following our social obligations, sacrificing on sleep, is taking its toll on our health.

Poor Sleep

As our sleep patterns shift, leading to poor or no rest, there are a bunch of diseases that become more likely:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Metabolic imbalances and diabetes
  • Heart disease.