Why is it so hard to wake up in winter mornings — scientists explain

By Team

Early waking up on a winter morning sometimes turns into a real struggle. For a long time, the causes of severe awakening were unclear, but scientists studied the activity of sensory neurons and neurons responsible for the sleep-wake cycles of the fruit fly (Drosophilidae), and seem to have found the answer.

The results of the study were published in May in the journal Current Biology. The authors describe an insect “thermometer” that responds to changes in ambient temperature. There are the so-called “cold” (thermosensory) neurons in fly antennas. From the tips of the antennas, the signal is transmitted to the brain of the fly, which has approximately 100 thousand neurons. After processing the data, the flies can adjust the sleep-wake cycles.

An optimal temperature for an insect is 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). Accordingly, receptors are “tuned” to this temperature indicator and a small group of neurons interact with them, which in its turn is part of a larger array that regulates activity and sleep (circadian center / sleep center). When the air temperature drops, the receptors, which are usually activated by morning light, “turn off” and the insect continues to sleep until it warms up and acquires the necessary mobility to escape from predators and other threats.

The reaction to a drop in temperature found in flies is similar to the human reaction to this and other factors. That is, a group of brain neurons can respond to changes in sleep conditions and regulate human behavior. One of the authors of the study, Marco Gallio from Northwestern University, commented on the results:

“The principles that we find in the brain of flies - logic and organization - can be the same in humans. Whether flies or humans, sensory systems must solve the same problems, so they often work the same way.”

Use the "smart" alarm clock of the Hypnopedia app to avoid stressful awakening. It determines the time of awakening, based on a set interval and makes the morning rise gentle and enjoyable. Also, the application helps to fall asleep and “boost” consciousness during sleep with the help of inspirational attitudes (affirmations). This allows you to accept yourself and cope with the negative accumulated over the day. To make the most of affirmations, it is recommended to use and repeat them on a daily basis.

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Seasonal changes in the amount of daylight and temperature can directly affect the quality and duration of sleep, provoke fatigue, decreased concentration, poor learning ability, etc. The brain responds to changes in the situation and with all its might keeps the person in bed in winter until it becomes light and warm enough.

Interesting to read: Why you need a smart alarm clock and how to pick the one that suits you best

Based on materials from cell.com

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