Trees observed resting their branches… Scientists stunned to realize trees SLEEP much like people!
(NaturalNews) Using their long, hairy roots, trees absorb water and nutrients from the soil, feeling down into the Earth for what they need. Standing tall, soaking in the sun’s rays, trees are an image of tremendous strength and beauty – icons of natural intelligence.
As they cast shadows and provide shade to the people below, the trees are watching, listening. … As people run around busy in the shadows of the trees, they forget just how important these dynamic living creatures really are. Trees provide oxygen, shelter, companionship, medicine and tranquility. Trees and people live symbiotically, exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide to maintain balance on Earth. Certain kinds of trees give up their bark, leaves, nuts, fruits, berries and roots as medicine to man.
The similarities between humans and plants are striking when it comes to sharing the basics of life: sun, water, air and nutrients. Astonishingly, scientists are now also starting to see similarities in how trees and people sleep.
Do trees really sleep?
Using laser beam imaging, Andras Zlinszky of the Centre for Ecological Research in Tihany, Hungary, was able to document trees drooping as if they were sleeping at night. At the peak of night, birch trees in particular were photographed drooping by as much as 10 centimeters at the tips of their branches.
“It was a very clear effect, and applied to the whole tree,” says Zlinszky. “No one has observed this effect before at the scale of whole trees, and I was surprised by the extent of the changes.”
Between sunset and sunrise, Zlinszky and his colleagues used laser beams to scan birch trees in Austria and Finland. The laser technology showed the precise movements of each tree through the night, providing three-dimensional graphs and resolutions down to the centimeter. The researchers avoided windy nights and measured the trees at the solar equinox in both countries to ensure accuracy in their measurements.
In all, the Finnish birch tree was scanned 11 times, once per hour through the night. The Austrian tree was graphed 77 times, every ten minutes through the night. The birch trees appeared to go into a nice relaxed state as the night went on. By morning, as the sun came up, the trees became erect and their branches and leaves appeared to wake up.
The phenomenon is more easily recognized in sunflowers, which noticeably droop at night and wake up to face the sun during the day.
“These studies have only been done before in small plants, but here, it was possible to do it outside in fully grown trees,” said Eetu Puttonen of the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute. “The experiment is the first of its kind.”
Cellular water pressure and circadian rhythm explain trees’ sleeping routine
The science behind sleeping trees is linked to water pressure within the plant’s cells. At night, a process called turgor pressure occurs where the water pressure drops within the cells. As the process of photosynthesis stops in the dark, turgor pressure kicks in. “It means branches and leaf stems are less rigid, and more prone to drooping under their own weight,” says Zlinszky.
Without sunlight, the trees stop actively using water and carbon dioxide to create sugar. With no sunlight to reach toward, leaves intelligently take a break and rest, conserving energy. During the day, the trees’ leaves are angled higher to maximize their ability to absorb sunlight.
Zlinszky is looking forward to imaging poplar and chestnut trees next. He says scientists have already decoded these trees’ genomes and found that they are genetically hardwired to have a circadian rhythm. By studying these circadian rhythm genes, Zlinszky and his team may be able to explain why the trees sleep much like people. The phenomenon could be that the trees are inherently resetting their biological clocks each day.