Experts have found more evidence of the harm caused by disrupting our body clocks, linking it to depression and bipolar disorder among other things.
The paper’s authors say it’s a warning to societies becoming less in tune with the body’s natural rhythms, which influence not only when we feel sleepy but a range of other processes in the body.
So what are the things we can do to stack the odds in our favour for a good night’s sleep?
Limit evening light
Are you inseparable from your mobile phone or laptop? Do you binge-watch box sets or check your social media late into the night?
If so, you’re likely to be disrupting your sleep.
That’s because these devices produce powerful blue light that delays when we feel sleepy by blocking the release of melatonin – the hormone our body produces to signal it’s time for sleep.
Having a cut-off time for when you stop using these devices of an hour and a half before bed is ideal, says Prof Malcolm von Schantz, from the University of Surrey.
Failing this, using blue-light blocking sunglasses and apps that lower the amount of blue light your devices produce in the evening can also help.
While blue light in the evening is particularly bad for our sleep, we should also limit other forms of electric light after sunset.
This can be done by using lamps and keeping our bedrooms dark, for example with blackout curtains.
- Body clock linked to mood disorders
- Should we all become early risers?