How to reset your internal clock and become a “morning person" Show Notes

Friday, August 23, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Are you a morning person?  Would you LIKE to be?  Well, go camping!

Researchers say that camping for a week can reset the biological clock that governs our sleeping patterns.

According to an article from the BBC, scientists argue that modern life disrupts our sleep through exposure to electric light and reduced access to sunlight.  But after spending time in the great outdoors, the body clocks of volunteers actually synchronized with sunrise and sunset.

Researchers have found that the widespread availability of electric lighting from the 1930s onwards has affected our internal circadian clocks, allowing us to stay up much later than nature intended.

The scientists in this study first analyzed a small group of volunteers as they went about their normal lives, and recorded their exposure to natural and artificial light.  By looking at levels of the hormone melatonin, they concluded that the lighting of our modern environment causes a two hour delay in our circadian clocks.

The researchers then took the volunteers camping for a week in Colorado. Flashlights and electronic devices were banned, the only night time light was the glow of a campfire.

The result was that the waking and sleeping patterns of all the volunteers synchronized with the rising and setting of the sun.

Since it’s not possible for us to go camping all the time, scientists suggest some small, simple changes to the way we live our lives. 

First, start off your day with a walk outside.  At night reduce lights in the house, and dim computer and electronic devices. Even the light from a cell phone in the evening hours is a cue that pushes our body clocks to a later time.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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