Sunrise, Sunset…

The human body is an enigma, despite the technological revolution, that keeps unravelling complexities which make our bodies operate in a manner often hard to explain or decipher accurately. Studies made by scientists sometimes discover the phenomenon of the multiple elements that propel the body to become the most perfect and ingenious machine, capable of creating the unobtainable as its limits defy infinity.

A study has now found that our brains are sharper in summer than in winter. It seems our minds are geared to be able to pay more attention when the days are long – with our ability to focus peaking at the time of the summer solstice in June. But this is not just because our bodies react to lengthening days – our body-clocks keep track of the seasons even when we cannot see the daylight.

In a unique experiment, 28 volunteers were deprived of sleep for two days, then kept in dim light for a further three. They then performed computer tests of attention and memory while their brains were being scanned to see how they were functioning.

The tests were done during various weeks over the course of a year. The subjects performed better during the summer, suggesting that their bodies were taking cues from an internal clock rather than external sunlight. Humans seem to be least attentive in the December winter solstice, when the shortest days of the year occur, the study found.

Researchers from the University of Liège, in Belgium, said that for tasks that need sustained concentration, the best and worst responses ‘were located around Summer and Winter solstices respectively.’

They also found that working memory – our ability to use and hold limited amounts of information for a short time – is at its best in the Autumn Equinox, the days around 22 September, and worst in the Spring Equinox, the days around 20 March.

As I said at the outset, the human body remains an enigma which will baffle scientists the more they discover its infinite capabilities.

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