Health

Can you transform from a night owl to a bird wound? Experts count

Can you transform from a night owl to a bird wound? Experts count

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If your body and brain don’t recover until late in the day, you’re probably a night owl, naturally programmed to enjoy staying up late and sleeping past the traditional school and work start times.

Yet getting up early to meet life’s responsibilities is the bleary-eyed reality of most late-nighters — leading many exhausted night owls to wonder, “Can I reprogram my body clock to be an early riser?”

The answer for most night owls is “Yes, you can,” according to sleep experts. However, how successful you are in changing your sleep preferences may depend on your genes and your willpower.

“We can make you less of a night owl, but not completely, because the genetic tendency or predisposition is still there,” said Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. in Illinois.

“It’s like having the gene for diabetes, right? You can modify it with your lifestyle, but it doesn’t change it,” Zee said.

To shift your body clock earlier, eliminate blue light from electronics, experts say.

Success also depends on how willing you are to work on changing behaviors that affect sleep, said Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, professor of neurology in the department of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Behavior change is very difficult. We can tell what works, and then you have to decide if you want to do it,” Klerman said. “We don’t have a magic pill.”

Nature associates our sleep-wake cycle with the Earth’s rotation. Daylight enters your eyes, travels to the brain and suppresses the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. When the sun goes down, your body clock turns on melatonin production again, inducing sleepiness within hours.

Your inherited sleep chronotype can change that process. If you’re a natural early riser, your circadian rhythm releases melatonin earlier than normal, giving you the energy to be more active in the morning. Night owls, however, secrete melatonin much later, suppressing the peak of activity and alertness later in the afternoon and evening.

Your body clock also dictates when you’re hungry, feeling sluggish, and in the mood to exercise, so being a night owl can have a downside for your health. Studies have shown that evening types are more likely to skip breakfast; eat more later in the day and use more tobacco, alcohol and caffeine. Night owls too have a higher level of visceral body fat in the abdominal area, a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

While you may not be able to change your genetic predisposition, you don’t have to let it control you. Sleep experts have several techniques for changing your body clock if you’re willing to do it.

Let there be morning light: The first and most important change is controlling the weather and the type of light you see each morning, Zee said.

“The strongest reset for the circadian system is bright light,” Zee said, “Light in the morning changes the oscillation of your circadian clock genes at both the cellular and molecular levels. You also train all your rhythms, whether it’s sleep, blood pressure, heart rate or cortisol rhythm to be earlier.”

Flood your eyes with light as soon as that pesky alarm goes off. Use natural sunlight if possible or turn on artificial light, especially that in the blue spectrum, which tells the body to wake up. Getting natural light in winter is not easy, so some people use products that glow softly until the alarm goes off.

“Dawn simulators are fine,” Zee said. “The problem with these lights is that many people don’t wake up with them or keep turning them off. If you do, then I suggest using light (therapy) glasses. A lot of my patients find it easier because you can put them to bed and then get up and walk around with these glasses on while you brush your teeth and get ready.”

Don’t stop there, Zee added. “Continue to extend the brighter light intermittently throughout the morning.”

It gets dark in the evening: The other side of the circadian reset is to turn off the lights much earlier in the evening, especially blue light from electronic devices, which “just shifts your body clock later,” Klerman said.

Yes, that means you’ll be turning off your smartphone, laptop, gaming device, and TV much sooner than you might want. Before you go screaming your way out, there are ways around it set up your device.

“You should put filters on your phone to change the color of the screen. You can also do this on your computer, so the color is more in the amber or reddish orange range, which doesn’t suppress melatonin,” Zee said.

You can also download a a free app called f.lux. It casts a yellow tint on your screen so you get less exposure to blue light, Klerman said.

You can’t turn off the blue light on your TV, but you can turn off the TV. “Read a book or play cards or whatever,” she said.

Eat and exercise earlier: Night owls naturally prefer to eat late, which has been shown to be associated with weight gain and greater obesity, Zee said.

“My rule of thumb: stop eating within three hours of going to bed,” she said. “Because this genetic molecular clock exists in almost every cell in your body, that means it’s in your fat and muscle cells and affects your metabolism. That’s why feeding should be synchronized.”

Exercise is key to good sleep and overall health no matter what time you do it. However, if you’re a night owl, you should try to exercise in the morning or early afternoon, and avoid heavy exercise in the evening, Zee said: “Remember, everything should be in sync.”

Do not turn to sleeping pills: You want to change your biological clock, not put your body to sleep. In addition, “behavioral treatment of insomnia is more effective than medication,” Klerman said.

However, if the light isn’t working fast enough, you can add melatonin about three hours before bed — and don’t take too much, Zee said.

“You will take a very small dose of melatonin – half a milligram. “It’s definitely not better to move the clock,” she said.

“Very important, you have to be in the dark when you do this – you can’t be exposed to bright light during this time or use electronics because blue light will suppress your endogenous melatonin,” added Zee.



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