Saturday, 7 February 2009
Full Time Work Improves Sleep
I started my full-time work this week. This means I normally start at nine, which means I have to get up at around 6:30 in the morning. When I was in university I worked part-time mainly from about six in the afternoon till midnight. This meant I slept at about one in the morning and woke up at around about eight or nine.
One of the problems with waking up so late is that you are often asleep when it is not dark. I'm certainly not an expert on this topic but if light goes on your body then melatonin production is suppressed. Melatonin is an antioxidant. If your body does not get enough melatonin then you run a higher risk of getting breast cancer or prostate cancer.
Because of worries about melatonin deficiency, I have been collecting data on when I sleep, when I wake up, when sunrise is, and how much sleep I get in the dark. Obviously the earlier I go to bed the more sleep I get in the dark.
I have put the data for the last few months into a time series chart. If you look at the chart you can see that I normally go to sleep at about one in the morning and then recently I have been going to sleep at about ten or eleven at night. I used to wake up at about eight or nine but now I wake up at about six or seven. As a result of shifting my sleeping period earlier, the amount of time I sleep in the dark (called "Dark Sleep" on the chart) has increased significantly. I used to average about five hours of dark sleep per night when I worked part-time but now I average about seven hours per night.