Name: Jeffrey Yu
Profession: Ob/Gyn Medical Resident
Working at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, Jeffrey Yu often has to put in 26-hour shifts on weekends. "There's really no way to catch up on the sleep," he says, because he has to work again at 6 a.m. on Monday. His coping strategy: Five to six cups of coffee during the long shifts and maybe a few minutes of shut-eye on the beds the hospital provides. It's hard on his body, he says. Even after eight or nine hours of rest, he's still groggy.
The circadian cycle is so important to functioning that your memory may depend on it. Animals whose circadian rhythms were eliminated by changing periods of light and dark had trouble remembering objects they had encountered only 20 minutes before. When they were treated with a compound that blocks the neurotransmitter GABA, learning returned, independent of sleep. Dampening GABA may open a whole new route to reversing memory loss with age.
Read My Actions
While we may not even be aware of our moods, our behavior reflects the fact that our emotions have their own intrinsic cycle throughout the day. Actions that indicate positive emotions, such as laughing and socializing, follow a wave-like pattern that peaks about 10 to 12 hours after waking up.