Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Synchrotron, Sleep and Circadian Rhythms

The ten days of beam time at SSRL has played havoc with my body-clock....just driving to San Francisco Airport...I already felt the classic symptoms of jet-lag. This was before the 3-hour time zone change to Eastern Standard Time in Philadelphia, before my final hop to Greenwich Mean Time (good old GMT) later this week.

Roy Wogelius, Phil Manning and Holly Barden...resetting their circadian rhythms at SSRL.

Our body clock, or Circadian Rhythm, operates on a 24-hour cycle that impacts our bodies in many ways, from biochemical to physiological and even behavioural processes....when we want to eat, sleep or dribble at the check-in attendant at the opposed to stringing together intelligible sentences. Its only when you find yourself, a seasoned traveller, sat on the plane in the seat next to the realize you were not fully compos mentis at the time of check-in.

Deciding to work on a flight is sometimes a daft move....sleep is possibly the best option. Arriving back in Philadelphia at 6pm I felt refreshed, as I choose the sleep option on this flight....but by 3am the next day...I was almost ready to go to sleep! Its been a battle now for three days resetting my body clock to Eastern Standard Time....but the real shunt is to come on Thursday, when my circadian pulse has to re-boot with -5 hours time difference to Greenwich Mean Time. 

As my flight arrives in Heathrow on Friday morning, my body will be crying for sleep, telling me it is the middle of the night....but the work day for me will only just be beginning! I leave straight from the airport to a meeting in the hallowed halls of the Royal next blog might possibly centre upon the virtues of caffeinated drinks!

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