How to sleep better and live longer – just by re-setting your body clock!
Unravelling the secret of how germs cause disease was the groundbreaking health development of the past century, leading to major advances in sanitation, vaccination and anti-biotics that, in turn, led to the most dramatic rise in longevity in any century in human history.
Yet living longer does not always mean living healthier. In fact, we are now witnessing a rapid increase in chronic diseases of both the mind and the body.
Today, almost one-third of adults suffer from at least one chronic disease, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma or high blood pressure.
There has also been a rise in the incidence of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
But now, the tiny field of circadian biology — the study of the human body clock — is radically changing the way we understand how both the body and the mind function, promising to provide the next revolution in healthcare.
We now know that our organs, indeed every cell in our bodies, contain internal clocks which are programmed to turn on or off thousands of genes at different times of the day or night.
These internal clocks prepare us for everything from waking up long before we’re aware of it (producing stress hormones to help us get through the morning routine), to priming the pancreas to release insulin to handle breakfast and dropping our body temperature and blood pressure when sleeping (in order to conserve energy for other functions, such as repairing and restoring cells).
Quite literally, these genes and their circadian rhythm (which recurs naturally on a 24-hour cycle) influence every aspect of our lives.