Study: Three weeks for night owls to change their routines 研究:夜貓子想改善作息需要三週

Mon, Sep 09, 2019 - Page 9

Many people have irregular daily routines, or are night owls who go to bed late and get up late, causing them to perform poorly at work or in class during the daytime. According to a study published in Sleep Medicine Research last month, the use of interventions to adjust people’s sleep routines and correct their displaced sleep schedule required a period of three weeks.

The study included 22 young people aged between 18 and 24 years old, the participants being “night owls” that would usually go to sleep around 02:30am and get up at around 10:30am.

The participants were randomly divided into a test group and a control group. For three weeks, those in the test group were asked to modify their routines, including the time they got up and went to bed, their diet and their exercise. This included waking up two or three hours earlier than they would normally do, exercising outdoors in plenty of sunshine as much as possible, eating breakfast as soon as they got up and eating meals at regular times. It also meant not drinking caffeinated drinks after 3pm, eating their evening meal before 7pm and, for those who did exercise, to shift their exercise time to the morning. They were also asked to go to bed two to three hours earlier than they were used to and to reduce their exposure to light in the evening.

The only stipulation placed on those in the control group was that they eat lunch at set times every day.

The findings showed that establishing simple routines could help night owls adjust their biological clock and improve their overall physical and mental health. They also experienced reduced levels of depression and stress and would feel less drowsy during the day.

The study findings were consistent with past research, that sleep in humans was affected by the biological clock, and that the biological clock was tied to sunlight.

Therefore, if you want to get your routine back into order you should start with your exposure to sunlight: try going to bed an hour earlier, go out and eat breakfast in the morning, avoid lying down on the bed during the daytime, and exercise more outdoors in the sunshine. If you really feel the need to sleep, do your best to restrict it to a half hour lunchtime nap, and don’t eat too much for dinner. If you continue in this way for 3 to 5 days according to your requirements, your body clock will gradually return to a more normal routine.

(Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)

許多人日夜作息不規律、或是夜貓子晚睡晚起,導致白天工作、課業表現不好;《睡眠醫學期刊》上月刊登研究指出,用調整睡眠作息的干預措施來改善日夜顛倒,需要三週的時間。

這項研究對象包括二十二名十八歲到二十四歲青少年,受試者是「夜貓族」,平均入睡時間為凌晨兩點三十分,起床時間為十點十五分。

研究對象隨機分為實驗組及控制組,在三週內,實驗組的參與者被要求改變生活習慣,包括起床時間、上床時間、飲食、運動等面向,包括比平常早兩到三小時醒來,並盡可能去戶外曬充足的陽光、起床後盡快吃早餐,且定時用餐、下午三點後不喝任何含咖啡因的飲料、七點前吃晚餐、有運動習慣者改成早上時間運動、比習慣入睡的時間提早兩到三小時上床、並在晚上限制光照時間。

控制組的參與者僅被要求每天在固定時間吃午餐。

結果顯示,建立簡單常規方式可以幫助夜貓子調整其生理時鐘、改善整體身心健康,且憂鬱和壓力的感覺以及白天嗜睡感都有所降低。

這項研究與過去相關研究結果一致,人體睡眠受生理時鐘影響,而生理時鐘則與光線有關。

因此要調整紊亂的生活作息可先從光線著手:睡覺的時間可提早一小時入睡,早上出門吃個早餐,白天盡量不要躺床,多往外動一動曬太陽,如真的想睡,最多只能睡半小時的午覺,晚餐不要吃太多,維持這模式持續三到五天,後續依照需要調回的時間差,慢慢將生理時鐘調回正常的作息。

(自由時報記者吳亮儀)