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New research suggested that wounds heal quickly if they occur during the day than after dark.The researchers from MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the UK studied 118 patients at the National Health Service burn units.Their observation implied that burns sustained at night took an average of 28 days to heal, while it only took 17 days' healing time for burns sustained during the day.Their findings showed that the difference between two scenarios of healing time is 11 hours, explaining the effect of body clock inside every cell in the human body.
One of the cells cited by their lab work is the fibroblasts found in our skin.These cells change their capabilities based on a 24-hour pattern.Fibroblasts respond to an injury site to immediately repair the wound and they are exceptionally active during the day.The aggression of these cells wanes at night.
"It is like the 100 meters.The sprinter down on the blocks, poised and ready to go, is always going to beat the guy going from a standing start," said Dr.John O'Neill, one of the researchers from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
With the knowledge at hand, the researchers plan to use the insight to improve surgery.Certain medications like steroid cortisol can reset the body clock of a cell, which can be helpful if surgical procedures at scheduled during the night.But each individual has their own body clock, and it will be beneficial if operations are scheduled according to the patient's circadian rhythms.
"By taking these [circadian factors] into account, not only could novel drug targets be identified, but also the effectiveness of established therapies might be increased through changing what time of day they are given," said Dr.John Blaikley of the University of Manchester's Center for Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, who also took part in the research.
What are Circadian Rhythms?
Circadian rhythms are behavioral, mental, and physical changes that follow a daily cycle.The rhythms primarily respond to the light and darkness found in the environment of an organism.In animals, circadian rhythms are divided into two – diurnal and nocturnal.Diurnal are animals active during the day and sleep at night.Nocturnal animals do their activities during the night and rest when the sun is up.The hypothalamus in the brain regulates the cycle of circadian rhythms and other essential functions such as sleeping pattern, body temperature, hunger level, and hormone release.
Examples of diurnal animals include humans, dogs, hawks, butterflies, and elephants.Animals that work the night shift include owls, bats, mice, and some cats.But changing the natural environment of an organism will disrupt their circadian rhythms after 24 hours.
"A change in the environment would be day turning into night, or night turning into day. The response would be increasing activity or decreasing activity.For example, in the morning a plant would raise its leaves towards the sun.However, at night, the plant would lower its leaves," stated a 2015 research transcript.
Effects of Disrupted Circadian Rhythms
Circadian rhythms can be disrupted by many environmental factors.Being awake at night because of an occupation, school project or noisy people can affect the rhythm.If the disruption becomes constant, it can lead to an irregular circadian rhythm.Irregular circadian rhythm can cause the following health problems:
- Sleep disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder
Jetlag is also associated with disrupted circadian rhythms.It happens when you cross through a different time zone, and your biological clock will not match the local time of the region.It usually takes a few days before your body can adjust to the local time and regain control of its regular circadian rhythms.
Beneficial Effects of Proper Circadian Rhythms
Sleeping patterns are determined by the circadian rhythms.When the hypothalamus commands your brain to produce melatonin, the hormone makes you sleepy.If your surrounding has less light, the hypothalamus orders your brain to make more melatonin so you can sleep.During our sleep, other parts of our body secretly do something good for us.
1.Rejuvenation – Your body goes into a full cleansing mode by filtering toxic chemicals.People who do not sleep well cannot filter toxins effectively, and it may be a reason why sleep-deprived people are irritable and moody.
2.Refresh Memory – When you enter deep sleep, your brain sorts the information you gathered within the day.The brain refreshes your memory by cleaning out useless information and retaining all important details, according to Christopher Colwell, a sleep specialist at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
3.Well-Armed – Your immune system arms itself when you sleep and creates antibodies from vaccines you've recently received.Chronically sleep-deprived people have lower levels of antibodies, making them vulnerable to infections, according to Dr.Jordan Stern, director and founder of the BlueSleep Center.