The more I learn about it the more I think the concept of a body clock is more theoretical than actual. Des it dictate our bedtime? Does air travel reset it? Well, a new study, Mashable reports, suggests that while our internal wiring does not influence our bedtime, it does play a significant role in when we wake up in the morning.
The findings presented by LiveScience, show that “bedtime is more under the control of society, and wake time is more under the control of the [bioloigcal] clock”. Data was taken from 8,000 people across 100 countries that use smartphone apps to help travellers adjust to new time zones.
When the brainboxes back at LiveScience HQ looked at the sleeping results they found that people in Singapore and Japan got the least amount of sleep and people in the Netherlands got the most. The was a 45 minute differential between the two sets of locations.
This might seem small but in a study of this scale and considering the effects of even the smallest degree of sleep deprivation, every minute counts when you’re trying to harness a decent sleeping pattern.
The study talks of something called ‘sleep debt’. Let’s say, for example, you were getting a decent six hours of sleep a night, you’d be building up an hour of sleep debt a night. (This is based on the recommended 7-8 hours sleep for working adults). Over time this debt accumulates until you’re, what the study describes as, “functionally drunk”.
I’m sure they’re referring to the inability to concentrate, slurred speech and dizziness over the impulse to burst into Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ whenever there’s a lull in the office.
So what have we learned? Well, if you want to get better sleep, move somewhere like The Netherlands, continuously missing your bedtime will result in feeling the bad type of drunk and the biological clock is closer to myth than we realised.