“Living in Jetlag” – the Dramatic Impact of Modern Life on our Inner Clock
Current research has shown that obesity, cancer, depression, ADHD and more are impacted by chronobiological factors – how much we sleep, and when, as well as our exposure to light. Raising awareness, furthering research and changing our ways can significantly improve our wellness. Interview with Neurobiologist Dr. Maria Korman, who will be presenting at an upcoming meetup on January 30, 2018 hosted by Joy Ventures.
In October 2017 three scientists – Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young – were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for their work on circadian biology, which is the field of science dedicated to the internal clock on which our bodies run. Dr. Maria Korman, a neurobiologist from the Edmond. J. Safra Center at the University of Haifa, explains: “Our internal clock, or in the academic language ‘circadian biology’, determines when we get tired, when women will ovulate, when we get hungry, controls our mood, and even at what time it is optimal for us to study? or when are we most likely to get a heart attack.”
According to Dr. Korman, the lifestyle we now live, which has changed quite dramatically over the past century, and even the past decade, has had a major negative impact on our internal clock.
Artificial light, shift work, even the constant glare of smartphones at all hours of day and night. All of these elements have thrown our clock into confusion, to the point at which many of us are living in a constant jetlag-like state, without leaving our town,” says Dr. Korman.
People today are sleeping an average of one-two hours a night less than they were in the 1950’s, and this too is a dramatic shift, and not for the better. Sleep problems affect every third adult person in developed countries and are a significant cause of morbidity with immense cost implications. However, the prevalence, burden, and management of sleep disorders are often ignored or overlooked by individuals and society in general. The key to health, productivity and safety lie in the light spectrum, light intensity and timing of exposure to light. Lighting today is no longer just about illumination, visual appearance and energy efficiency. Lighting of private and public spaces should also protect our physical and mental health.
Dr. Korman will speak about her research at an upcoming meetup on January 30, hosted by Joy Ventures. “Dr. Korman’s research shows us that there are many things that we can do to improve the functioning of our inner clock,” says Dr. Hagit Alon, VP Scientific Affairs at Joy Ventures. “Even small things like turning out night lights and log off electronic devices two hours before bed. There is a lot of room for innovation in this arena. Smart apps and ambient light design solutions can help people regulate and limit their exposure to light, help regulate sleep and more. We invite researchers in adjacent fields to join us, and find ways to collaborate around this fascinating field. We further believe entrepreneurs who attend the meetup will come away with some great food for thought, and perhaps inspiration for new initiatives.” Bringing together researchers and entrepreneurs, and enriching the dialogue on ways to improve Neurowellness, is a central element in Joy Ventures’ mission.
“There is still a mountain of work ahead of us before the modern world is optimized around our biological timing,” concludes Dr. Korman, “But I believe that by drawing attention to the basic and applied research of human chronobiology, we might all get into the best rhythm, and on the road to wellness and optimal functioning.”
[To register for the meetup press this link: bit.ly/2D7r3ld]