bims-ciryme Biomed News
on Circadian rhythms and metabolism
Issue of 2021‒07‒04
one paper selected by
Gabriela Da Silva Xavier
University of Birmingham

  1. Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 01. 11(1): 13709
      Human cognitive functioning shows circadian variations throughout the day. However, individuals largely differ in their timing during the day of when they are more capable of performing specific tasks and when they prefer to sleep. These interindividual differences in preferred temporal organization of sleep and daytime activities define the chronotype. Since a late chronotype is associated with adverse mental and physical consequences, it is of vital importance to study how lighting environments affect chronotype. Here, we use a mathematical model of the human circadian pacemaker to understand how light in the built environment changes the chronotype distribution in the population. In line with experimental findings, we show that when individuals spend their days in relatively dim light conditions, this not only results in a later phase of their biological clock but also increases interindividual differences in circadian phase angle of entrainment and preferred sleep timing. Increasing daytime illuminance results in a more narrow distribution of sleep timing and circadian phase, and this effect is more pronounced for longer photoperiods. The model results demonstrate that modern lifestyle changes the chronotype distribution towards more eveningness and more extreme differences in eveningness. Such model-based predictions can be used to design guidelines for workplace lighting that help limiting circadian phase differences, and craft new lighting strategies that support human performance, health and wellbeing.