If you suffer a cut or a burn during daytime, you have more chances that it should heal more quickly. A recent study has revealed that skin cells undergo the healing process a lot more rapidly during the day, so daylight wounds should close 60 percent more quickly than the ones which occurred during nighttime.
For this study, researchers studied 118 patients who suffered a series of burns which were sustained both during the day and during the night. In the end, they concluded that the daylight burns healed in about 16 days, while the nighttime ones took around 28 days to be sealed up.
As an explanation, they offered the way in which our body clocks work during a cycle of 24 hours. This affects the behavior of skin cells, which change their function according to the time of the day. The cells in question are called fibroblasts, and they exhibit a different behavior during daytime and during nighttime. This led to a difference of 11 days in the time of healing of the two types of wounds.
The answer is provided by our circadian rhythms
As soon as the body gets hurt, these fibroblasts start working in the injured area. They get together to close the wounds and to prevent the blood from flowing. It seems that their level of activity is higher during the day. During nighttime, the body should be sleeping, so they move slower.
“When the cell is wounded only 8 hours apart from each other, in a different circadian phase, the [daytime] wounded ones take off, and the [nighttime] one drags,” says lead author Dr. John O’Neill.
This difference in the fibroblasts’ behavior from one moment of the day to the other is a product of evolution. The sleep cycles inhibit their activity since, during this moment of the day, humans are less likely to suffer any wounds. Knowing this can have a huge impact of surgery, as picking the suitable moment of the day for the intervention can facilitate healing.