So, I'm on call tonight. Typical disrupted night of sleep, and usually takes me a day or two to recover. I'm now learning that in animal experiments, those subjects who experienced changes consistent with jetlag or shift work changes had increased rates of mortality. (BBC News)
We all know that the body has a certain sleep/wake cycle called the circadian rhythm. And, those who cross more than one time zone traveling, or those who work different shifts, or those who may be up all night on call, or those who actually stay up to watch tv for the US election results (me), or those who call themselves bloggers, may have difficulty sleeping. Our bodies are used to a certain length of time with daylight and a certain length of time with darkness.
Researchers at the University of Virginia put mice to this test. They put some mice's clocks forward and other mice's clocks behind by altering their sleep/wake cycles.
Separate groups of young and old mice had normal [sleep] cycles. Younger animals appeared unaffected by alterations to their schedule. But only 47% of the older mice whose "nights" were shortened survived, compared with 68% of those whose nocturnal time was lengthened and 83% of those who remained on a normal schedule.Yeesh! The only thing I can gather from this data is this -- Glad that I'm not an older mouse! I wonder if they have any data on lice or chickens, or the fly? (oh my!)