If you’re constantly changing your work hours or frequently jet-setting between time zones, you may be more vulnerable to catching a virus than people with consistent work schedules or less erratic itineraries, a new study suggests. When you disrupt the clockwork, then your clock is in no-mans land, Reddy, a clinical studies fellow at the University of Cambridge and a professor of experimental neurology, said during a phone interview. In that state, you’re more likely to get an infection. The Cambridge study was performed on mice in a lab experiment, so its applicability to humans may be somewhat limited, but the new work does add to a growing body of research into circadian rhythms.
The daily rhythm represents the biochemical and physiological processes that rise and fall in your body over the course of 24-hours. These internally-driven cycles are what make us tired around our usual bedtime and help us wake up by the time the alarm rings. Body clocks also help regulate processes related to hormones, body temperatures and eating and digesting food.
While research has shown that disrupting those cycles can lead to fatigue, poor motor control and irritability heightening the risk of injuries and harmful stress Monday’s study offers new clues about the role of the circadian rhythm in helping us fight off infections.