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Time for night workers to see the light

Tagged In:  Hospital, Nursing

Waking up to simulated daylight can help your body clock cope with the disruption of night shift working. And we're offering you the chance to feel the benefits by winning a Lumie Bodyclock.

Shift working is part of the job for most doctors and nurses. But it can be a nightmare for your body clock. And however long you've been doing it, dealing with changes in shift patterns can continue to be a challenge for many people. Whether you're getting up to go to work in darkness or trying to adjust to daytime working after a round of nights, being shocked out of your slumber by an alarm or radio is hardly the ideal way to feel refreshed and ready to go.

Luckily, help is at hand. Using advanced technology, wake-up lights simulate the natural breaking of dawn by automatically turning on a low intensity light, which gradually becomes brighter during your final 30 minutes of sleep. This stimulates your 'get up and go' hormones while suppressing your urge to hit the snooze button.

The technology may be relatively new. However, the idea isn't. A 'mechanical sunrise' device was patented in 1890 and modern electronic units were developed in the early 1970s. Following encouraging research at Columbia University in the 1980s, wake-up lights have been gradually developed and refined over the last 20 years or so and are now used by everybody from health professionals to athletes.

Several recent studies have confirmed the beneficial effects, which include improved mental agility, better concentration and faster reaction times. Conversely, being rudely awakened increases the level of cortisol in your body. That's the hormone that deals with stress and having too much of it can make you feel depressed and lethargic. The experience of waking up suddenly can be so negative that our bodies often train themselves to be one step ahead of the alarm.

So what happens if the wake-up light doesn't wake you up? Don't worry. Most of them have a back-up alarm. However, the majority of users find they wake naturally, just as they would if daylight were flooding through the bedroom window.

It’s not just frontline doctors who could benefit from this. The health services run on specialists of all sorts working all shifts. Anyone from a Mental Health Nurse, a Locum OT or even a Microbiologist could find themselves regularly working through the night and suffering from upended circadian rhythms.

Enter our free prize draw and you could be the lucky winner of a market-leading Lumie Bodyclock Active 250. Normally retailing at £99.95, it's the ideal solution for anyone who has to deal with irregular sleep patterns, helping you wake up naturally any time of day or night.

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