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Holly
10-08-2011, 05:18 PM
On the BBC Radio 4 this afternoon, an English neurologist explained that people have a "biological clock" which is regulated by circadian darkness and daylight. People also have a "sleep pressure" factor and if a person feels drowsy, this expert explained, it is because the sleep pressure is building-up and in conflict with the biological clock. He furthermore warned that if a person nods off for more than 20 minutes in the afternoon (for example while listening to Radio 4), this can do more harm than good as the body will be stressed coming out of a deep sleep during daylight.
Since Spain closes-down from 2 to 5 every afternoon (especially in the hot and brilliantly sunny south), it strikes me that Anglo-Saxons are biologically different from Mediterranean types.
Unless, of course, the neurologist is talking codswallop as another explanation could be that everyone has a biological clock and circadian rhythm but these are conditioned more by culture, shift-work schedules, and general lifestyle than daylight.

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j480/rogerduke1/siestatime.jpg
Siesta time in Malaga

jmcc
10-08-2011, 05:52 PM
I remember reading that it can take between six and eight weeks for the body's clock to adjust to a new sleeping schedule or timezone. Napping can be useful but longer than twenty minutes or so and the body can start to go into deeper sleep patterns. I'm not sure about the Northern/Southern divide but closer to the equator, the days are more uniform in length where as towards the Poles, the daylight period varies. There may have been good reason for stopping manual labour during the warmest time of day but to someone from the from the higher latitudes, it seems like an unnecessary waste of work time. Of course there are real evolutionary pressures at work with lighter skin and blue/green eyes being more of an advantage in the higher latitudes due to the longer nights and temperature extremes. However as people can adapt to different timezones, there may not be any biological differences.

Regards...jmcc