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Body clock could be extended

17th May 2007

New research has suggested that the body clock could be safely extended by an hour.

Scientists from Lyon University and Harvard University and Medical School, claim in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that by being exposed to pulses of bright light, humans could extend their natural circadian rhythms.

The circadian cycle allows us to work most effectively during hours of daylight.

Month long tests on 12 volunteers revealed that a combination of bright and dim lights could add an extra hour on to a person's internal clock.

It is thought that the findings could be invaluable in future for astronauts that undertake lengthy missions on Mars, where a day lasts 40 minutes longer than on Earth.

"Jet-lag, shift work and circadian disorders such as advanced and delayed sleep phase syndromes are all associated, to different extents, with a condition where the circadian system is out of synchrony with the light/dark cycle," said researchers, according to the BBC.

Body clocks of humans are said to have between 23.5 and 24.5 hour cycles, depending on the individual.