An article in the New York Times discusses the many merits of the "Paleo lifestyle," including when it comes to sleep. "Ms. Tam, a confessed television addict, decided to cut out all electronic devices after 8 p.m. If she has to check her iPhone, she wears amber goggles to block the blue-spectrum light that she believes interferes with her circadian rhythms. Next, she turned her bedroom into the equivalent of a Lascaux cave, removing all clocks (her two young sons serve as her morning alarm, she said) and installing blackout window inserts. The move paid dividends. 'I used to envy how my young two boys would fall asleep almost immediately after their heads hit the pillow,' Ms. Tam said. 'At dawn, they’d bound out of bed, eager to tell us about the previous night’s dreams. Now, I sleep like them.'”
An article in the Guardian on one person's experience of "delayed sleep phase syndrome" and its impact on her education, employment prospects and relationships.
An article on the BBC News website about the potentially disastrous health effects of "living against" one's body clock. Oxford Professor Russell Foster observes that "We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle."
A recent article in The Atlantic reports on efforts to make the Bavarian spa town Bad Kissingen the world's first "ChronoCity," an environment that caters for the different sleep/wakefulness patterns -- or "chronotypes" -- of its individual citizens.
An article in today's New York Times about ongoing efforts in Columbia, MO and elsewhere to start the school day later. Jilly Dos Santos is a "sleep-deprived teenager turned into a sleep activist" who helped persuade her local school board to scupper plans for an earlier start time. "During puberty, teenagers have a later release of the 'sleep' hormone melatonin, which means they tend not to feel drowsy until around 11 p.m." Moreover, researchers at the University of Minnesota have just released a study suggesting "the later a school's start time, the better off the students were on many measures, including mental health, car crash rates, attendance and, in some schools, grades and standardized test scores." For an earlier post on sleep and teenage students, click here.
Scientists at the University of Surrey's Sleep Research Centre have have published new research on the "chrono-chaos" that shift work inflicts on the human body.
New research by Dr Monique LeBourgeois of the University of Colorado Boulder suggests that toddlers may achieve better sleep if their bedtimes are synchronized with the early evening surge in melatonin that indicates the start of the "biological night."
Founded in Denmark in 2007, the "B-Society" is a group that campaigns for the rights of 'late chronotypes' -- or night owls, as they are more popularly known. The B-Society challenges the traditional association of early rising with virtuous productivity, and campaigns for a sympathetic and flexible approach to the needs of late risers.
A recent New York Times blog post on the latest research in chronobiology. One finding: "[L]ate chronotypes tended to have activity in genes that contribute to later sleep onset, offering further evidence that the urge to stay up late or to rise early is not a lifestyle choice but resides in our DNA."