Sufferers from jet-lag know that circadian rhythm disruptions can be physically and mentally taxing. Results of a recent study at Toronto General Hospital’s cardiac centre shows that when hamsters biological ‘clocks’ are out-of-sync with the environment (i.e: light/dark cycles are reversed) the animals die at a younger age from cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and severe kidney disease. It was also found that when the light/dark cycles are normalized, these ill effects can be reversed. These results suggest that those who experience circadian rhythm disruptions on regular basis (eg: shift workers, flight crews) are at a higher risk of developing Cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and other chronic illnesses.
Am J physio; Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2008 May; 294 (5); R1675-83. Epub 2008 Feb 13