Circadian rhythms are trending in 2019

Circadian rhythms are trending in 2019

As January soon comes to a close and the usual predictions of the year ahead begin to overwhelm even the most unphased readers of all, we are here to tell you that in 2019, circadian rhythms will trend. Hell, it's already trending.

From a recent Guardian article by science journalist Linda Geddes, where she highlights, explains and sheds insight on the concept of social jetlag, coined by circadian rhythms researcher Ludwig-Maximilian, to diet tips on times of the day trending on Vogue. Needless to say across countless media platforms and industries, circadian rhythm, that natural embedded clock inside our body, is on the rise, and only predicted to grow in popularity with innovation around it.

We have put together this reflection to highlight some of the exciting new fields that circadian rhythms are now being accounted for:

Dieting

When you eat and not just what you eat has been preached by dieticians for some time now, but very rarely did we get an explanation as to why not eating after 7 pm is good for those looking to control or reduce their weight.

Turns out this has a whole lot to do with our circadian rhythms. Much like high-intensity light kickstarts our energy levels, so does it boost our metabolism — helping us digest more efficiently. Hence breakfast is a good meal to stick to.

Similarly, low-intensity light triggers our body to begin its sleep phase, thus slowing down much of our systems, including the digestive one, hence we find it harder and slower to digest at night and therefore food and fat become stored instead of processed and used up.

So if you are watching your weight or simply want to keep your digestive system like a well-oiled machine, eating while exposed to high-intensity light and trying not to eat as much in the darker times of the day could do the trick.

Driving

Companies that work with delivery services are becoming increasingly more aware that the health and safety of their operations do not only rely on regulations around the stretch of accumulated driving hours, but also around the circadian rhythms of their drivers.

While most of us will associate dangerous driving hours with late night or early morning, it’s been shown in recent studies that the peak hours for car accidents are often between 2 pm to 4 pm — when a large number of us experience our circadian rhythm low, often following lunch.

This year, keep an eye out on new technology or regulations that aim to curtail car accidents that are related to circadian rhythms.

Higher grading

We’ve always been told that revising and dedicating ourselves to our studies is a sure solid formula to succeeding in your exams. However, a recent study published in Science Advanced shows that sleep has a whole lot to do with succeeding in school.

The study looked at the performance of school goers in Seattle after lessons' start time was reorganised to later in the morning. As a result, teens got more sleep on school nights—a median increase of 34 minutes of sleep each night. This boosted the total amount of sleep on school nights from a median of six hours and 50 minutes, under the earlier start time, to seven hours and 24 minutes under the later start time.

This year is set to see many educational institutions and schools follow suit and begin personalising start times to the ages of the attendees for ultimate performance.

Surgery timing

A new study by French researchers indicates that undergoing major surgery in the afternoon could be safer and show quicker recovery rates in patients than undergoing the same surgery in the morning as it synchronises with patients’ circadian rhythms low.

The study, which looked at 600 patients showed that only nine percent of afternoon surgery patients suffered a heart attack, heart failure, or death from heart disease, in the follow-up period after the surgery, as opposed to 18 percent who suffered from the latter who had undergone surgery in the morning.