Some people spring out of bed in the morning, feeling chipper and whistling their favourite tune.
Others have to drag themselves out of a deep, groggy slumber. And there are some who, in their eternal narcoleptic snooziness, feel like they could hibernate for 1000 years.
A Hunter New England Health study is particularly interested in this subject. It's looking into excessive sleepiness. In other words, it's researching sleepy heads.
The study will examine how light treatment can improve sleep and daytime functioning and reduce sleepiness in those who are excessively sleepy. The proper name for this type of condition is hypersomnia. Which is pretty much the opposite of insomnia.
The study will trial the use of bright light exposure, via commercially available glasses, to "better align patients' internal body clocks with the outside environment".
This is because evidence suggests hypersomniacs have delayed circadian timing, causing them to sleep later in the night than ordinary folk.
Now we're getting into the territory of circadian rhythms and body clocks. Which is interesting stuff. Like how people can often predict with great accuracy the exact time when they wake up in the middle of the night, before looking at their bedside clock.
Circadian rhythms follow the light and the dark. It's our molecular machinery working like, pardon the pun, clockwork. Those with hypersomnia are obviously a bit out of sync. If you're among them, don't worry, you're not alone.
Hunter New England Health senior sleep scientist Gemma Paech, who is leading the trial in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute, said excessive sleepiness was "highly prevalent".
"Around 19 per cent of the population experience excessive sleepiness. Despite obtaining adequate and good quality uninterrupted sleep, individuals with hypersomnia wake feeling unrefreshed and are in an almost constant state of sleepiness."
Currently, there are no pharmacological treatments available to specifically treat hypersomnia. [Haven't they heard of coffee? Mind you, that probably makes it worse].
Non-pharmacological therapies such as light exposure may well be a good alternative. That's what the study will analyse.
Light helps keep internal circadian rhythms aligned with external factors, such as the 24-hour day, Dr Paech said.
Exposure to light, for example, in the early morning can bring forward sleep. While exposure to light in the evening can delay sleep later at night. [Those warnings about the use of smartphones and tablets late at night, not to mention mega TVs, are starting to make more sense].
"In patients with hypersomnia, morning light exposure can work to advance sleep, keeping the internal and external rhythms aligned, which could improve concentration, memory, attention, alertness and decrease sleepiness," Dr Paech said.
The trial is aiming to recruit 20 patients with hypersomnia. Those interested can contact Dr Paech at email@example.com.
Speaking of being in sync, John Fear has noticed the time ball on top of the Customs House tower has been working again.
The time ball has been out of action since being struck by lightning last October.
The history of this ball according to the book, Newcastle's Harbour Foreshore, says the time ball began operating in 1878.
"At the time, the ball was the only way for sailors to set their chronometers to help navigate. At 12.55pm, the ball was sent to the top of the pole by hand and at 1pm a trigger mechanism was activated and the ball descended down the pole," the book said.
John said: "This is now happening again which is great".
"Workmen were seen working on the tower last month removing the weather vane. Perhaps they were the people who got the ball back in operation. We are hoping they will be back soon with a refurbished or new weather vane, because some of us locals really miss it."
New Lambton's Ross Greig noticed Newcastle's tallest building, Verve Residences, was referred to in Saturday's Newcastle Herald as having 19 storeys.
Ross said the building has 20 levels, including the ground floor. He wonders why Australia is different to the US in that sense. Americans, you see, include the ground floor as a storey. Europe, though, apparently follows the same system as Australia.
We reckon real estate agents and developers everywhere follow the American system. If they can get an extra floor, they'll take it, right?
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