How a Power Outage Made Me Healthier
When Hurricane Irene hit theِ East Coast lastِ weekend, itِ caused widespread power outages throughoutِ New England andِ much ofِ Long Island.
But theِ blackouts mayِ haveِ a silver lining: living byِ candlelight forِ aboutِ a week improved myِ sleeping habits.
When theِ power outage onِ myِ street inِ Nassau County, onِ Long Island — caused byِ a felled tree, according toِ theِ Long Island Power Authority — wasn’tِ fixed afterِ two days, I wasِ pretty upset.
Wired to respond
I can’tِ turn toِ myِ computer forِ time-eating distractions orِ to check myِ email beforeِ bed.
I can’tِ make anyِ long, non-emergency calls becauseِ I’m conserving myِ smartphone’s battery, andِ there’s onlyِ so muchِ reading byِ flashlight thatِ oneِ canِ take, soِ I nowِ fall asleep byِ 10 p.m., insteadِ of myِ usual 11:30 p.m.
Although ourِ circadian clocks areِ internal, andِ would continue toِ cycle evenِ in constant lighting, theyِ areِ alsoِ reset daily byِ lighting conditions, sheِ explained.
TV and Computers Interfere with Sleep
My habit ofِ watching TV beforeِ bedtime mayِ explain whyِ I’ve alwaysِ experienced bouts ofِ insomnia andِ often haveِ trouble staying asleep.
Since theِ blackout, I’ve beenِ dozing offِ asِ soon asِ my head hits theِ pillow andِ sleeping theِ whole night through.
When youِ rely onِ the geophysical light cycle, asِ now, yourِ internal rhythms becomeِ much moreِ inِ tune withِ theِ environment, saidِ Shimon Amir, circadian rhythm researcher andِ director ofِ the Center forِ Studies inِ Behavioral Neurobiology atِ Concordia University inِ Montreal.