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How electricity affects our sleep

16-12-2012

You would think that long power cuts would affect many things but not your sleep, because let’s face it, sleep would seem to be the only time when you don’t need power of any type. However, recent research has shown that your sleep can get thrown by power cuts in a short amount of time. When the power goes out, you get a disruption in what are called zeitgebers, which is a German word for “time givers”. Zeitgebers are those little items your body uses to understand where it is in the day – those things like light exposure, exercise, bathing, social interaction and eating which serve as external time keeping clues. They are the things that really help your body to figure out where it is in a 24 hour period.

And when you lose power, all those routines change -- you eat when you can, bathe when you can and exercise when you can (if at all). And after the sun sets, light is no longer streaming in from overhead bulbs and technology. Your schedule starts to become disturbed and so does your sleep.  So when the sun sets in the early evening and you've got nothing to do, heading to bed early can seem like the only option.

It only takes a few days without your regular zeitgebers for your sleep cycle to be totally thrown and it can take days to return to normal after the power comes on.


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