There are many factors involved in sleeping peacefully at night and sleep problems affect many people for different reasons: stress at work, problems in relationship, poor sleep hygiene, etc., due to the importance of good sleep for our lives, it is not. it is rare that much research is directed in this direction.
An example of this is a study he wished to understand why do we open our eyes in the morning before the alarm clock rings. In this article, we echo their findings.
Why do we wake up before the alarm clock rings
Just a few days ago, something happened to me that made me think. I went to bed very sleepy because the day had been very tiring. The next day I had a meeting in the morning and had to get up early to get to the appointment. I thought I had set the cell phone alarm as I do every night before bed, but the dream played a trick on me: I had set the time but I had not given the possibility to connect the phone. Fortunately, what could have been a problem wasn’t because I woke up at the same time as usual without the alarm having to do its job.
Why did this happen to me? Well, the answer lies with scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the United States, who have discovered a component that controls the body clock and sleep cycle in mice and presumably humans.
In the molecular mechanism that controls our sleep-wake state is present an enzyme called JARID1a. This particle is known in the field of biology for its role in modifying histones, proteins that surround DNA in a protective complex called chromatin. What we did not know, and which we now know thanks to this team of researchers, is that it also begins the daily process of awakening.
The researchers also found that the deficiencies in this protein interrupt and cause irregular periods of sleep. The study was published last week in the journal Science.
How does this mechanism work
Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered that a protein called PERIOD (PER) is extremely important in the molecular mechanisms of sleep and wakefulness. The cells of our body use the PER to perceive the time of day, And tell us when and how to wake up.
At night, PER levels decrease, Which lowers our blood pressure, heart rate and mental activity. But as we get close to waking up and therefore upon waking up, the enzyme called JARID1a works like an alarm that tells our body that it should start working for the new day ahead.
Another similar study
A similar study, conducted by the University of Lübeck in Germany, explored the effects of this enzyme. To do this, they had a group of subjects who had to wake up at 6 and 9 a.m. The researchers lied to the participants because those who thought they had to wake up at 9 a.m. did so at 6 a.m. in the same way as the other group.
Scientists found that in those who had been properly informed, stress hormones increased around 4:30 p.m.. However, hormone levels in the 9 a.m. group did not rise and woke up when the researchers forced them to do so.
The importance of good sleep hygiene
According to Luciano DiTacchio, a researcher at the Salk Institute who led the study alongside Satchidananda Panda, “these findings may be crucial for possible future treatments for sleep problems.
However, these results may not only be useful for those who have trouble sleeping and are unable to sleep well, but they are important in preventing sleep disturbances and to improve its quality. These results tell us that if we have good sleep hygiene and follow a frequent sleep schedule, we are more likely to have our bodies activate on their own before the alarm even sounds.
So if you are one of those people who go to bed at a different time every day and realize that you are in class in the morning, but like you are not because your focus is not showing up, it There’s a good chance you ‘woke up before your body adjusted to the situation.
Tips for improving sleep hygiene
Experts say that in order to sleep well, you need to follow these essential principles of good sleep hygiene:
- Take care of the environment so as not to interrupt the quality of sleep.
- Follow a sleep ritual, And go to bed normally at the same time.
- Take care of your diet.
- Avoid mid-afternoon stimulants.
- Exercise, But not after 6 p.m.
- Don’t overuse the nap.
- Avoid consuming alcohol before going to bed.
- Do not stare at the screens for a long time before going to bed.
You can explore these recommendations in more depth in this article: “10 basic principles for good sleep hygiene”.