If you’re constantly tired, perhaps your body is following the wrong clock.
Researchers at LMU University in Munich, Germany have suggested that ignoring the 24-hour circadian clock (during which sunlight helps regulate our natural rhythms) in favour of your social calendar, is likely to result in health problems.
The pressures of early starts, social commitments and work, could be contributing to the poor health of up to 80% of people in Western countries, says chronobiologist Professor Till Toenneberg, who defines the problem as "social jetlag”.
Individuals who get too little sleep, due to their busy lifestyles, have an increased body-mass index (BMI), found the LMU team.
In a statement, the researchers indicate that a person whose lifestyle conflicts with their internal physiological rhythms is at greater risk of developing serious metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
"The ongoing debate on the usefulness of daylight-saving time (DST) should take note of our findings," remarks Roenneberg, in a statement.
"Just like conventional school and work schedules, DST disrupts our biological clock and subjects us to more social jetlag with all its consequences."
"Shut your eyes and focus on your breathing as it becomes slower and deeper. This makes your body more relaxed."
"Finish everything you have to do on your computer by 10pm. Switch off mobiles and PCs and leave them outside of the bedroom so you're not tempted to answer texts or emails."
"Take a long, hot bath before going to bed. This helps relax and soothe your muscles. Showers, on the other hand, tend to wake you up. Insomniacs should avoid showers in the evening."
"Never oversleep because of a poor night's sleep. Get up at about the same time every day, especially on the morning after you've lost sleep. Sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle and you'll get sleepy later and wake up later.
"Don't go to bed on a full stomach - make your final meal before 9pm."
"Create a story in your head and allow your imagination to experience that story."
"Don't go to bed worrying about anxieties or concerns. They can wait until tomorrow."
"Caffeine, a chemical in coffee, tea and chocolate causes hyperactivity and wakefulness. Some sleep laboratories encourage people to avoid such tyrosine-laden foods as fermented cheeses such as cheddar cheese, ripe avocados, some imported beers and fermented meats (bologna, pepperoni, salami). Also avoid red wines, especially chianti."