Understanding light intake can help patients in recovery

21 Aug 2019

With the recent advancement in circadian rhythm research, we now know that recovery from surgery and illness is very much linked to our biological clock and that getting the right light at the right time for our own circadian rhythm is essential for this.

Studies show that disruption of our body’s clockwork contributes to diseases as diverse as cancer and diabetes. Recently scientists have begun to wonder if the reverse might also be true: could healing be guided by this clockwork as well?

Two new studies support this idea, widening our perspective and encouraging us to consider timing as essential to the process of recovery.

Wounds, such as burns and cuts, heal nearly 60% faster when the injury occurs during the day rather than at night, a new study published in recent years in Science Translational Medicine found. The study was done by scientists from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, who analyzed the records of 118 burn injury patients who had been cared for in England and Wales.

In the same breath, a similar study looking at the timing of heart surgery found that  people who had surgery in the afternoon had a 50% lower risk of a major cardiac event within 500 days of their operation compared to people who had surgery in the morning, the researchers found.

Imagine understanding patients’ circadian rhythms, their chronotype and when their peak physical and cognitive performance times are throughout the day to better understand when patients should be going into surgery, or when treatments should be applied.

Find out more about how LYS tackles can help us understand individual circadian rhythms better.