People waking later in the morning and who are most active at night could see significant improvements in their sleep/wake timings by taking practical steps to change natural rhythms. Private Medical Insurance is a great back up to our health as well as our own positive life hacks.
International research by the Universities of Birmingham and Surrey in the UK and Monash University in Australia showed participants were able to bring forward their sleep/wake timings by two hours whilst still maintaining a good length of sleep.
The study, published in Sleep Medicine journal, found that those taking part reported a decrease in feelings of depression, stress and daytime tiredness.
What were they asked to do?
Twenty-two healthy participants were involved in the study and for a period of three weeks were asked to:
- Wake up two to three hours before their regular wake-up time and maximise outdoor light during the mornings
- Go to bed two to three hours before habitual bedtime and limit light exposure in the evening.
- Keep sleep/wake times fixed on both work days and free days.
- Have breakfast as soon as possible after waking up. Eat lunch at the same time each day and refrain from eating dinner after 7pm.
The results highlighted an increase in cognitive (reaction time) and physical (grip strength) performance during the morning. Tiredness is often very high in night owls at this time. They also found a shift in peak performance times from evening to afternoon. Participants reported a decrease in feelings of stress and depression.
Adults can be at risk of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and a shortened life expectancy due to poor sleeping patterns.
Wearable tech can help you monitor your sleep patterns in conjunction with the above steps. Some private medical insurance companies offer discounted wearable technology. More importantly they can offer medical help for mental health issues and other illnesses perhaps brought on by a lack of sleep.
Speak to us here at Medical Made Easy to find out more about the number of medical policies available from our panel of insurers.