The opening ceremonies for the Olympics are tonight, beginning at 9pm London time, and 4pm central time. Due to the time differences between the states and London, many events will be happening while we are asleep.  People on the east coast may be setting their alarms extra early to catch an event live, while west coasters may stay up extra late to catch their favorite competition.  Sleep expert Michael Decker, associate professor at Georgia State University and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine weighs in on the dilemma facing fans.  “We want to support our Olympians.  We want to be there at 5 a.m. watching.  But unlike Olympic athletes that are used to getting up at 5 a.m. and working out we are not.”  We all know what it feels like when we are tired.  We are less productive, more apt to get headaches, and often make poor eating choices.  So what do the experts recommend we do to enjoy the Olympics and still get our sleep?  Technology!  Taping or DVRing is your best bet.  However, for die hard fans who must see Olympic events live, there are some ways you can protect yourself from lack of sleep fallout.  If you plan to wake up early catch some bright light upon awakening, sunshine is best (if the sun is up) or a light therapy machine.  The light can help to wake up your brain.  If you plan on staying up later than usual wind down a bit before going to bed.  The brain can’t always “flip the switch” from watching television, to going to sleep.  A short nap, 30 to 60 minutes can help to boost your total sleep hours for the day.

Michael J. Breus, author of “The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan” says that an internal clock shifted without traveling is called social jet lag… or in this case “Olympic jet lag.”  Breus says ultimately it should take your body about the same time to readjust after the Olympics as it would if you had traveled to London – about one day per time zone.  He cautions not to overdo it with caffeine to compensate for less sleep, as it will only mask the problem.  “You can’t fool mother nature.”      Huffington Post 7/27/12

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