Scientists at the Sleep Research Centre in Surrey have unveiled the disruption that shift work triggers at the deepest molecular level. The researchers said that doing night shifts throws the body into chaos and may even lead to long-term damage.
The experts said that the scale, speed as well as severity of damage that is caused by being awake at night came up as a surprise. As is well-known, the human body has its own natural rhythm, also known as body clock that is tuned to sleep at night and gets active in the day. This sleep rhythm has lots of effects on the body that are more profound than what we always thought. They can alter everything ranging from hormones to body temperature, athletic ability, brain function and even mood.
For the study, the researchers followed 22 people as their body transformed from a normal, natural rhythm to that of a night-shift worker. The blood tests of these participants showed that about 6 percent of the genes were timed to be more or less active at certain particular times of the day. So, once the participants started to work at night, their genetic fine-tuning was lost.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Article source: BBC News
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