Everybody's heard of circadian rhythms, the part of our body clock that affects sleeping and waking. What you may not know is that the long nights of fall and winter can affect our circadian rhythms and wreak havoc with your sleep cycle. Circadian rhythms are affected by signals from the environment -- specifically from light or its absence.
According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, light is the main cue affecting our circadian rhythms by turning on and turning off genes that affect our internal body clocks. They are linked to sleep-wake cycles and have an effect on the quality of our sleep as well. This is because our body clocks are affected by the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. When darkness falls, melatonin levels rise, preparing you for sleep. That's why you may find yourself getting sleepy after dinner on a fall night after daylight savings time ends. That may cause problems if you actually do fall asleep hours earlier than your usual bedtime and find yourself wide awake during the wee hours of the morning!
It wouldn't be such an adjustment for our body's if we didn't have daylight savings time, and in fact the start of daylight savings time disrupts our sleep even more than ending it does. Without it, our bodies would simply follow the natural rhythms of light and darkness as they have for eons. In fact, according to an ABC News HealthDay report, our bodies never really adjust to daylight savings time.
Of course, there are plenty of other factors that affect the quality and length of your sleep -- your mattress, for instance. If you're sleeping on an old mattress or a mattress that leaves you achy and stiff every morning, contact us. We're the Mattress Store at Kensington in Northfield, New Jersey.