If you’ve been enjoying waking up when you feel like it rather than setting the alarm, you might enjoy these two papers that came out in the last couple of months.
The first explains that you simply can’t get too much sleep, how most of us self-select a daily routine that leaves us sleep-deprived (left to our own devices, the average is around 8 1/2 hours, not the 6 – 7 that most of us get) – and why it takes several days for your body and brain to recover from a night on the tiles.
The popular myth that the amount of sleep we get has gone down in the past 50 years is simply not true by the way
The second is an excellent review of all the most recent scientific literature on the link between light and circadian rhythm. No surprises really but great to have it all set out so clearly. Essentially regular exposure to bright, ‘cool’ light during the day not only seems to set the body clock – but it makes that clock more resilient to exposure to light after dark. Read more here…
The study points to the problems of measuring sleep accurately and the need to consider to integrate different factors, especially age and chronotype – around 15% of us (including me) are extreme larks, and another 15% are extreme owls. The rest are ‘intermediate. This review points to studies that suggest that owls tend to experience more depression and anxiety and sleep longer than owls – it hypothesises that the timing of exposure to light may have a significant effect on their health and wellbeing.
Something to sleep on!