- While individuals tend to experience different levels of alertness from one day to the next, they also differ from other individuals in their average daily alertness level.
- A recent longitudinal study suggests that the previous night’s sleep profile, physical activity during the previous day, and the nutritional composition of breakfast are linked to daily variation in a person’s morning alertness levels.
- The study also found that non-genetic factors such as mood, sleep quality, age, and frequency of daily food intake predicted differences in morning wakefulness among individuals.
- The study reported that genetic factors had a modest effect on daily alertness, suggesting that interventions to modify non-genetic factors could help improve levels of daily alertness.
Impaired alertness immediately after waking and throughout the day can adversely affect cognitive and motor performance and increase safety risks.
A recently published study
These results suggest that interventions at the individual and community level targeting these non-genetic factors may help alleviate the negative consequences associated with impaired alertness.
Although a common phenomenon, it can have a profound impact on the productivity and safety of individuals.
Specifically, sleep inertia can affect the safety of workers in hazardous occupations or affect the safety of others by disrupting the decision-making process of emergency service personnel, including healthcare workers and firefighters.
Likewise, decreased alertness during the day due to insufficient sleep is associated with lower productivity and an increased risk of traffic accidents.
However, there is limited scientific evidence about the factors that affect levels of alertness after waking up.
In this study, researchers evaluated factors associated with diurnal variation in morning wakefulness in the same individual.
They also examined the role of genetic and non-genetic factors in influencing differences in average morning wakefulness levels among individuals.
The researchers first examined four predetermined effects.factors on the day-to-day variation in alertness observed in the same individual.
They evaluated the effect of the previous night’s sleep profile, the previous day’s physical activity, the nutrient composition of breakfast, and post-breakfast blood sugar levels on morning alertness. Participants recorded their dietary intake and alertness on the ZOE study practice throughout the study. Operation ZOE Ltd. funded by.
The researchers used data collected over a 2-week period from 833 people aged 18-65 years to examine the impact of these factors. Participants had to wear a wristwatch accelerometer throughout the entire study period to facilitate data collection on their sleep profiles and physical activity levels.
To assess their morning alertness, participants recorded their alertness levels on a 0-100 scale. They reported their first degree of alertness at the start of breakfast and then intermittently over the next 3 hours.
Based on each participant’s baseline sleep profile, the researchers found a relationship between sleep duration and sleep timing and morning wakefulness levels.
Specifically, when a participant slept longer than usual or woke up later than usual, they were more likely to show higher levels of alertness the next morning.
Higher levels of physical activity during the previous day were also associated with increased morning alertness.
Only physical activity levels in the 10 most active hours of the previous day were positively correlated with morning alertness levels.
Conversely, physical activity during the night was associated with lower morning alertness.
The researchers then examined the effect of breakfast’s macronutrient composition on morning alertness. They provided each participant with calorie-matched standard breakfasts of different nutrient combinations, including high-carb, high-protein, and high-fiber meals consumed on different days.
The researchers compared the participants’ levels of alertness after consuming each of these meals with that after a reference meal that provided moderate levels of carbohydrates and protein.
Among the different standardized meals provided to the participants, consumption of a high-carbohydrate breakfast was associated with higher levels of morning alertness than the reference meal.
In contrast, the high-protein breakfast was linked to lower alertness levels than the reference meal.
The researchers also examined how changes in blood sugar (sugar) levels after breakfast consumption affected levels of morning alertness.
A lower blood glycemic load, a measure of the effect of food intake on blood sugar levels after breakfast, was associated with greater morning alertness, regardless of breakfast composition.
Specifically, these four factors independently affected levels of morning alertness.
Commenting on the findings, Jeff Kahn, CEO and co-founder of the energy and sleep tracker subscription app Rise Science, who was not involved in this study, said: Medical News Today He:
“The study helps to show that positive health and well-being outcomes can be achieved with a variety of leverages in this state of greater alertness. The four independently effective inputs they mentioned – longer than normal sleep time, previous day’s exercise, carbohydrate-rich but still macronutrient-rich breakfast “Composition and lower glycemic response in the hours following breakfast consumption are separate tools in our performance toolbox. Use and enjoy, even if we don’t always get to all four.”
While these factors could explain day-to-day differences in morning alertness in the same individual, the authors were also interested in factors that might explain why some participants had higher average wakefulness levels than others.
To put it differently, researchers were interested in genetic and/or lifestyle factors that could influence an individual’s characteristic or average daytime alertness.
The researchers found that positive mood, older age, less frequency of eating during the day, and better sleep quality were predictors of an individual’s average daily alertness levels.
This study consisted of both twins and adults who were not genetically related. This allowed the researchers to examine the extent to which genetic factors could influence daily alertness levels in twins.
The researchers found that genetic factors had little effect on an individual’s levels of alertness; This suggests that modifiable lifestyle factors have a more significant impact.
D., a sleep researcher at Oregon Health and Science University who was not involved in this study. Andrew McHill,[u]The hallmark of this current study is the broad determinants collected—sleep, diet, and activity—and the ability to separate these behaviors against genetic influences using the twin study.
“Using this type of analysis allows for a more accurate assessment of potentially modifiable behaviors to improve next-day alertness. This is not only for potential individual and community goals to improve safety and health, but also for the exact mechanisms by which these observed changes in alertness are.” “It’s also exciting for the research community as it provides more testable hypotheses for future investigation to determine why.”
The researchers acknowledged that their study had several limitations. For example, morning alertness levels in the study were based on self-report and may be susceptible to bias.
The study also did not take into account differences in light exposure in the morning, a factor known to significantly increase alertness.
The researchers also noted that all standardized breakfasts consisted of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, with only varying levels of these macronutrients.
They cautioned that these results should not be taken for granted and should lead to the adoption of carbohydrate-only meals for breakfast.