Sassone-Corsi says the best way to preserve your body’s clock is to get regular sleep; between seven and eight hours are recommended for adults. Good sleep practices include going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, avoiding long naps, and creating a sleep routine that includes time to relax before bed. It’s also a good idea to anticipate changes. For example, you will gain an hour of sleep when clocks change from Daylight Saving Time, or will lose several hours when flying east. In each case, there are measures you can take: A few days before changing from Daylight Saving Time, delay your bedtime by a half-hour or an hour. If you are traveling east, start by going to bed earlier; if you are traveling west, delay your bedtime. While traveling, sleep on the plane if you will arrive at your destination at night. “The less you disrupt your clock, the better,” says Sassone-Corsi.
There is hope for treatments for disorders triggered by circadian dysfunction, including jet lag and chronic conditions such as depression and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from McGill and Concordia universities recently identified how protein synthesis is controlled by the brain’s clock. “We identified a repressor protein in the clock and found that by removing it, the brain clock function was surprisingly improved,” explains Nahum Sonenberg.
September 2014 issue of Best Health magazine