Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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GermanSpaTown200

 Are you a morning person? A night owl?

Your preferred sleep pattern is called your “chronotype,” and if you’re forcing yourself to live outside your natural circadian pattern—a night owl jarred awake early by an alarm clock, for example, or an early bird who stays up late working or partying—it’s not just a matter of feeling tired. You’re at risk for depression, poor memory, obesity and even some kinds of cancer. But the demands of work, school and society—and the convenience of artificial lighting—make it hard for many people to listen to their own body clocks.

Unless, that is, they live in Bad Kissingen, a small spa town on the southern edge of Germany’s Rhön Mountains. (Bad means “bath” in German.)

On Sunday, March 9, 2014,  we'll  “spring ahead” and return to daylight saving time. What's the best way to prepare for the year's worst Monday morning and recalibrate sleep cycles? 

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In the short essay below, sleep researcher Michael V. Vitiello, a University of Washington professor, shares advice and his perpsective on the time change. Prof. Vitiello serves as co-director of the Center for Research in the Management of Sleep Disturbance and editor-in-chief (for the Americas) of Sleep Medicine Reviews. He is a content specialist for Wellbody Academy

Originally proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, (although not adopted until World War I in an effort to save energy) daylight saving time is observed in most of North America and Europe. 

This means that the twice annual changing of clock time is again upon us and most of us will lose an hour of clock time as time “springs forward”, which means most of us will have one less hour of sleep when we awaken on Monday morning, March 10th.

“Without enough sleep, we all become tall 2-year-olds.” — JoJo JensenLeafClock

Time to reset our body clocks as we “fall back” and gain an hour of sleep early Sunday morning. This disruptive semi-annual time change, though not as annoying as when we lose an hour of sleep come spring, offers a chance to assess and tune-up sleep patterns for fall.

Why is healthy sleep hygiene so important? And how can we do better at getting the sleep we need? 

badge-slumbertorium"Just pick a time and stick with it," declares a growing movement of sleep-disrupted activists who are leading a petition drive to end the biannual time changes altogether. They say the twice yearly ritual is no longer economically relevant, has no scientific basis and spurs an increase in car accidents (due to to sleepy drivers), heart attacks, suicides and cranky people.

Hawaii, Arizona and the east side of Indiana have opted out of Daylight Savings Time. Russia stopped messing with their clocks in 2011. "Every fall and every spring we are swearing at this system," said Dmitry Medvedev, who was then Russia's president and is now prime minister. "Our biorhythms are damaged. We are all angry. We either oversleep and turn up late for work or wake up too early and don't know what to do with this free time. Let alone poor cows and other animals that can't understand why they should have their meals or be milked earlier or later." Learn more

And visit the Slumbertorium at Professor's Wellbody's Academy of Health & Fitness to learn how to get your REM on!

 

wellbody-blog-slumbertoriumInsomnia. For those who suffer from it, it can be a most annoying malady. Up all, night, can't sleep, can't get 'sleepy' and the next day you're tired and worn out. As bad as that seems, and it is, a new study indicates that insomnia may also lead to an increased risk of heart failure. Learn more about this research and the next time you visit Wellbody Academy, be sure to check out our Slumbertorium for useful information about sleep. It's important for everyone, regardless of age.