Coming Soon? The 25-Hour Work Day

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Hmm…  If this caught on in the workplace, would the mandatory hours of work change to 45 hours a week? I wonder.

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Get ready for the 25-hour day. A new study, funded by NASA, shows that it’s possible to cram an extra hour into the day.

The researchers included Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD, director of the sleep medicine division at Harvard Medical School and chief of the sleep medicine division at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

They studied 12 healthy young adults (average age: 28) who volunteered to spend 65 days living in individual rooms without windows, clocks, or any other time cues.

Before the experiment began, the volunteers got eight hours of nightly sleep at home for at least three weeks.

When they reported to the lab, they spent three days on a normal 24-hour day. Then the researchers tweaked the hours of light and darkness to pinpoint the participants’ natural circadian rhythm, commonly called the "body clock."

Next, the scientists tacked on an extra hour of light to each participants’ natural amount of daily wakefulness.

The researchers didn’t just leave the lights on for an extra hour. At the end of each "day," the scientists cranked up the light in the overhead fluorescent lights, delivering two pulses of extremely bright light.

The bright light pulses were nearly 10 times brighter than normal room light, according to the study.

After the pulses of bright light, participants didn’t go to sleep right away. They stayed up an extra hour, effectively getting 25 hours per day.

Participants stayed on the 25-hour-day cycle for a month. They adjusted to the schedule, judging by their core body temperature and levels of melatonin, a hormone involved in circadian rhythms.

READ: 24 Hours Not Enough? See The Light.

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