Researchers at Manchester University have discovered a pill that would cure jet lag and ease the strain of working nights.
The researchers found an enzyme that keeps the body operating on a normal 24-hour circadian rhythm.
Research team leader Dr. David Bechtold told The Telegraph that “We already know that modern society poses many challenges to our health and wellbeing – things that are viewed as commonplace, such as shift-work, sleep deprivation, and jet lag disrupt our body’s clocks.
“It is now becoming clear that clock disruption is increasing the incidence and severity of diseases including obesity and diabetes.
“We are not genetically pre-disposed to quickly adapt to shift-work or long-haul flights, and as so our bodies’ clocks are built to resist such rapid changes.”
After studying how well mice coped when their cage lights were turned on and off at times outside a normal day/night pattern, they found that the mice lacking the enzyme CK1epsilon could adjust to a new light-dark cycle much faster than normal, as could normal mice fed drugs to counter CK1.
A pill that inhibits the same enzyme could help the body adapt to body clock changes caused by jet lag or working a night shift.
According to the Telegraph, previous studies have shown that disrupting the body clock has a serious impact on health raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than 40 per cent.
Night shifts are thought to be responsible for 500 women dying from breast cancer each year.