Work as been pretty chill lately, and since I can monitor our equipment from my work laptop, I have been eating lunch at my desk and reading some ScienceDaily.com articles to pass the time! Many articles that I have caught my eye recently have had to do with circadian rhythms, or the “biological clock” that our bodies instinctively follow. Since my new job has me working over night shifts depending on the schedule of our process, it perked my interest how going against one’s natural internal clock could be positive or negative for the body.
Unfortunately, one study has shown that those work nights are actually more likely to have issues with health as they age, including the development of metabolic diseases like diabetes. The SIRT1 protein was previously shown to protect the body from such diseases associated with aging,however new research has indicated that it also controls circadian function. Some possible applications are upregulating the amount of SIRT1 expression in the brain to trick the biological clock to slow down. The potential effects are the treatment or prevention of many types of diseases from developing!
And don’t think circadian function only resides in the human brain! Another interesting circadian rhythm study had to do with veggies and fruits. The light and dark cycles that these vegetables and fruits experience actually help them detect when to increase the amount of insect deterring chemicals in their bodies to prevent being feasted on at around sunset when critters come out hungry. An interesting side effect of these chemicals is that they are found to be great cancer fighting agents in the human body. What is even more amazing is that these plants are able to maintain their circadian rhythms even after being chopped up.
So as you can see, if you are a night owl like me, you may be in a bit of trouble. While nothing is more relaxing to me than staying up a bit late to surf the net or watch t.v., it may be a good idea to have a good sleeping schedule from an overall health point of view.