Well I arrived in San Francisco and was surprisingly chirpy after the 10 and a half hour flight! The big problem for me now is sleep as I managed to get just 4 hours, despite forcing myself to stay up until 9.30pm (Pacific time) and really believing that I would wake-up at my usual 5.30am.
The problem, as anyone who travels knows, is that my body thinks it’s 11am, whereas my senses clearly know that it’s really the middle of the night! I will of course adjust gradually over the next few days and be fully into the new time-zone by the end of the week, just in time for me to go back to the UK!
Anyway, as someone who definitely needs 8 hours sleep to function well, i was interested to read this small article in ‘The Week’ which outlines why that maybe:
‘Sleep appears to have a biological function, clearing the brain of toxins that build up during waking hours. That is probably what makes a good kip so restorative. The toxins are amino acids called beta-amyloid. Believed to play a role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, they need to be cleared out to keep the brain functioning. The disposal process, the glymphatic system, works by pumping cerebral spinal fluid through the brain tissue, which flushes the toxins – the by-products of neural activity – into the blood system and the liver. Researchers at the University of Rochester have now found that it is ten times as active during sleep, when cells contract giving the fluid more space to slosh around. They suggest that it doesn’t work nearly as effectively during the day. “Think of it like having a house party,” said Dr Maiken Nedergaard in the Daily Mail. “You can entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can’t really do both at the same time.”