Editors' Choice

Turns Out Trees Also Sleep at Night

Jonathan Tao / May 9, 2018

Have you ever lain awake at night, desperate to go to sleep? Trying to stop thinking? We have. But it’s not just human beings who are cranky when we don’t get enough sleep! (Thankfully, we have coffee.) Genetic research has confirmed that genes in almost every cell, in almost every organism on the planet, are coded to the 24-hour cycle of day and night. The circadian rhythm is essential to the health and growth of every plant and animal, including trees!

Trees obviously don’t look all that different at night then during the day, but a recent study has shown that birch trees “sleep” at night. Using laser scanners, researchers I Finland and Austria took images of trees during the day and at night. The laser imagery revealed that when the sun goes down trees conserve energy, drooping into a form of “sleep” with less movement. This might not surprise you; after all, the leaves on smaller plants often curl up at night. But this study is another confirmation that life is beautiful and the whole world has an amazing rhythm!

Next time you lay down to sleep, try listening to the wind in the trees and remember: the trees are asleep too.