While youngsters are more of night owls these days and ‘early to bed and early to rise’ pattern is not applicable on them, a new study at the University of Birmingham says that brain activity patterns in early and late risers are different.
The study published in the journal SLEEP states that activity patterns in morning people and those who wake up late are different, with levels of productivity lower in those who sleep and wake up late. Doctors say that the performance of people is affected at workplace or schools.
The researchers divided a total of 38 people that included 16 early risers and 22 late sleepers into two groups based on the levels of hormones that affect sleep and waking cycles. After monitoring the sleep and waking patterns of the participants, they underwent MRI scans and found that their brain patterns were different. After evaluating the performance of the participants on various tasks to check how sleep-wake cycles affected daily functioning.
It was found that early risers had better resting brain connectivity that is associated with a state of consciousness. The findings showed that early risers had longer attention spans, faster reactions and higher energy levels. While late risers felt sleepy during the morning tasks, early risers performed better.
“The general sleep rhythm during the night is required for an individual to stay healthy. While adults need about eight hours of sleep, teenagers need about sleep for about nine hours or more. Even younger children need sleep for a greater number of hours during the night. It is well documented that good sleep as per the natural cycle, which is during the night, is required during the growth years for proper rejuvenation and regeneration of the brain,” says neurologist at Fortis Malar, Dr Suresh Kumar.
“Regular night sleep is necessary to maintain proper brain circuited rhythm to ensure productivity. Poor sleep cycle leads to poor productivity as brain is designed to suit the energy levels as per the sleep cycle,” adds the doctor.
Doctors say that very often youngsters complain of sleepiness all throughout the day despite sleeping for eight hours or more. However, the hormonal functioning is related to the energy levels and performance of an individual.
Neuro specialist at Apollo Hospitals, Dr Joy Varghese says that it is not the number of sleep hours that count but the quality of sleep that affects the brain functioning. “A person should sleep as per the biological cycle. Certain hormones are activated during the night hours in the body as per the natural cycle.
Productivity levels are naturally affected if one does not sleep as per the natural cycle. Various lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other issues are likely to develop if one does not follow natural sleep cycle,” said Dr Joy Varghese.
- Keep smartphones, tablets, and other devices away as you go to sleep
- Keep a consistent sleep cycle of 7-9 hours
- Skip caffeine and sugar before sleep
- Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning
- Have a fixed dietary cycle