The Body Clock Can Impact the Biological Clock
We've come right back to the "biological clock." Research shows that women who are pregnant or hoping to conceive should listen to their circadian rhythms and avoid artificial light at night. Sleep doesn't just help the body rejuvenate and promote growth in kids; it also protects a woman's eggs from stress. That's because melatonin is believed to have antioxidant qualities and defends the body against inflammation while stimulating the immune system, particularly during ovulation [sources: Klein, Nierenberg].
When the lights go on at night, melatonin production slows or stops. Experts say that women who are expecting should maintain steady sleep patterns that conform with the light and dark cycles going on outside. That means eight hours of darkness with little or no interruptions each night. The dark, not actual sleep, is the key. The body produces melatonin as a reaction to darkness and will continue doing so, even if you can't sleep. Among other effects, researchers have found that disruptions in this routine can lead to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism-related disorders in young children [sources: Klein, Nierenberg].
Author's Note: 10 Facts About Biological Rhythms
Daylight saving time is a blessing and a curse. Pushing the clocks ahead an hour come spring means that the sun will still be up when I leave my office. This, of course, allows me to continue believing that I am a real, live human being rather than some sort of hunchbacked, cave-dwelling hermit who slinks around under cover of darkness. On the other hand, it seems to take me weeks of adjustment to get out of bed on time after the change. That's because I like to get up when the sun gets up. Call me crazy, call me a damn dirty hippie, call me late to work, but it is my humble belief that alarm clocks are for quitters. If the Good Lord wanted us to get up earlier, he or she would bring the sun up accordingly.
More Great Links
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- National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). "Circadian Rhythms Fact Sheet." November 2012 (April 19, 2015) http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx
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- Nierenberg, Cari. "How Staying Up Late Could Hurt Your Fertility." The Huffington Post. July 16, 2014 (April 20, 2015) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/light-night-fertility-melatonin_n_5591183.html
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- Reinberg, Steven. "Body's Clock Never Adjusts to Daylight Saving Time," ABC News. March 23, 2015 (April 19, 2015) http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4509150
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