Health Desk—November 09, 2017: A new study finds wounds heal more quickly if they occur during the day rather than after dark.
It found burns sustained at night took an average of 28 days to heal, but just 17 for those that happened in daytime.
The team, at the UK's MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, said they were astounded by the difference they saw in 118 burns patients they studied.
The effect was explained by the way body clock ticks inside nearly every human cell across a 24-hour cycle.
The research examined 118 patients at NHS burns units.
It showed the average 11-day difference in healing times between people hurt at night and during the day.
Detailed lab work showed skin cells called fibroblasts were changing their abilities in a 24-hour pattern.
Fibroblasts are the body's first responders, rushing to the site of injury to close a wound.
During the day they are primed to react, but they lose this ability at night.
Dr John O'Neill, one of the researchers, told the BBC: "It is like the 100m. The sprinter down on the blocks, poised and ready to go, is always going to beat the guy going from a standing start."
The research was published in Science Translational Medicine.