Getting a good night's sleep just took on a whole new meaning.
- A new study introduces a new method for determining your personal circadian rhythm.
- This could have profound effects on combating cognitive disorders and helping patients understand when to take medicine.
- The blood test measures a person's biological clock to within 1.5 hours.
Photo: Yuris Alhumaydy / Unsplash<p>The human circadian rhythm approximates with the rising and setting of the sun, though that's not the final word in this story. Before electric lights we slept in <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-used-to-sleep-in-two-shifts-maybe-we-should-again" target="_blank">two shifts</a> — still within the timeframe of the rotation of the planet, however. As Daniel Pink writes in <em>When</em>, his book on timing, there is individual variation in this rhythm: 14 percent of humans are what he terms "larks" and 21 percent "night owls," while the majority are "third birds," meaning their midpoint of sleep is between 3–4 am.</p><p>How do you know what feathered vertebrate you are? It turns out your blood can tell you. A new test called TimeSignature, announced in a <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/09/05/1800314115" target="_blank">study</a> published in the <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em>, requires only two blood draws to inform you what your genes say about your circadian rhythms. </p><p>This follows previous, expensive tests requiring numerous blood draws at specific times of the day. TimeSignature measures forty different gene expression markers that signal when you should be sleeping. Though variation might exist dependent upon scheduling — I remember gruelingly working overnight shifts in the emergency room back in college — your genetic make-up doesn't lie. </p><p>Now we can pinpoint the hours we should be unconscious with previously unavailable precision. <a href="https://www.futurity.org/circadian-rhythm-blood-test-1865492-2/" target="_blank">According to</a> Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine assistant professor (and lead author of the study), Rosemary Braun,</p><blockquote>This is a much more precise and sophisticated measurement than identifying whether you are a morning lark or a night owl. We can assess a person's biological clock to within 1.5 hours.</blockquote>
Before you reach for another glass of warm milk, read this.
It has happened to most of us: being hit with a slew of worries, stresses, and knowledge of what we have to do tomorrow just when we want to go to bed. The resultant strain is made worse when we realize that each moment spent thinking is one less to sleep in. The problem is familiar to the one-third of Americans who report difficulty falling asleep more than one night a week. As sleep deprivation can be the cause of a myriad of health problems, the search for a good night's sleep is one that takes on tremendous importance.
Forty percent of Americans sleep less than seven hours per night, and that's a problem.
If you're constantly tired because you can't break your bad sleeping patterns, this super smart Sunrise Pillow might put you back in the game.
Nutrition, physical activity and sleep are the cornerstones of health. Yet, sleep seems to be the most overlooked, with electronic devices, light pollution, stress, busy schedules, and Netflix all standing in the way. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention an estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder, and more than a third of adults are getting less than the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep. People with sleep insufficiency are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.
The pair of papers suggest that sleep is crucial in order to wipe out memories. Yep – it turns out that, sometimes, it's smart to forget.