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  • There is plenty of advice for how to improve your sleep.

  • Go to bed at the same time, avoid digital screens after dark, and don't hit snooze.

  • But it all comes down to the same assumption--that you're doing something wrong.

  • When in fact, it may not be your fault at all.

  • Inside practically every organism on earth, there's a clock that keeps order.

  • Known as a circadian rhythm.

  • For humans, it's located in the part of our brain called the hypothalamus.

  • And while it's most famous for controlling our sleep cycles, it's also responsible for helping primary organs like the brain, heart, and lungs work in harmony.

  • But not everyone's circadian rhythm is the same.

  • Night owls for instance, generally feel tired later than early birds.

  • Often because they produce high amounts of the sleep hormone melatonin later at night.

  • And for most of human history, that didn't matter.

  • Since night owls could protect their tribes from nocturnal predators, or their cities from cunning conquerors.

  • But society has made it a problem in recent decades.

  • An estimated 80 percent percent of Americans follow daily schedules that fall between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Yet nearly a third of the population considers themselves night owls.

  • Which means they're better off with a schedule that looks more like this:

  • This phenomenon is called social jetlag.

  • It's like the jetlag you feel after a long plane trip.

  • But worse because it doesn't disappear after a few days.

  • And social jetlag is taking its toll on the night owls of the world.

  • Because even if you get the recommended amount of sleep, knocking your circadian rhythm out of whack has consequences.

  • For example, one study found that for every hour your circadian rhythm is out of sync, your risk of obesity increases by 33 percent.

  • Also increasing your risk of the many health complications associated with obesity, and the problem isn't just a physical one.

  • In another study, people whose circadian rhythms were more than two hours off, reported notably more severe symptoms of depression.

  • And since your circadian rhythm tends to shift as you age, social jetlag is especially apparent in teens.

  • In fact, the CDC warns that most public schools across America start too early, before 8:30 (a.m.).

  • Which, according to the nonprofit RAND Corporation, is costing the country nine billion dollars a year from mainly lost academic performance and car crashes from tired teens behind the wheel.

  • Luckily, the circadian rhythm isn't set in stone.

  • Turns out, it's largely triggered by light signals that strike your eye.

  • So when you first wake up ...

  • Get outside and soak up some morning sun.

  • Or if that's out of the question, make sure your home is well lit.

  • It might just brighten your morning a little more.

  • We'd like to learn what you wanna know about the human body.

  • Tell us in the comments and thanks of watching.

There is plenty of advice for how to improve your sleep.

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B1 INT US circadian circadian rhythm rhythm sleep night obesity

What Happens When A Night Owl Is Forced To Live Like An Early Bird

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    Evangeline   posted on 2018/07/16
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