We all know that feeling when you take a long flight and are feeling jet lagged, or if you have to work a weird shift or some other event throws off your sleeping pattern it can make you feel terrible. What you might not know is that you can help yourself out by controlling your light exposure or taking melatonin supplements to help change your circadian rhythm around.
But researchers have conducted a new study that says there is something else that can affect your sleep cycles! Meal times.
In the study they took 10 men and put them in a sleep lab for 13 days, and for the first while fed them breakfast 30 minutes after waking up, then they pushed it back by 5 hours and found that it had a big impact on their blood sugar levels.
The way your body determines its functions is in a roughly 24 hour clock of sleep/wake called the circadian rhythm which is controlled by what they call the brain’s “master clock” using light signals received by the retina in the eye.
Researchers found that, while they did not change when the lights came on or off, the change in meal times impacted when the men were able to sleep. That indicates that you can also help your body change its rhythms by planning your meals times.
This is also helpful information for people on regular shifts who have a hard time eating on a schedule as having a body clock that is out of whack in the long term is thought to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
You can learn more about the study from cell.com
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