Component found in plastic may affect sleep cycle

A study in mice showed that exposure to the compound Bisphenol A (chemical substance found in plastic) during pregnancy can change the circadian rhythm, which is responsible for controlling the time we are awake or asleep.

The mice were divided into two groups: the first one ate normal food and the second one ate foods with a low presence of Bisphenol A.

The puppies from both groups were kept with their parents for 12 weeks before being separated.

After this time, they were placed in a modified environment with artificial lights. First, the puppies were subjected to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness for four weeks; afterwards, the mice stayed in the dark for 24 hours for another four weeks, receiving eventual light contacts.

Puppies of rats that were exposed to a small amount of BPA were more active during the period of light and darkness. The puppies of mothers who consumed normal food, on the other hand, adapted better to the new conditions.

The researchers believe that these changes may have something to do with hyperactivity, but further research needs to be done to prove this hypothesis. The tests were done for 4 months.

Many studies, around the world, have shown that BPA has some health risks. Even so, several countries have released its use and commercialization.

The researchers believe that the discovery could change this reality, especially in the countries of Europe and North America.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a substance that is often present in plastics and is resistant to high temperatures. Baby bottles, pacifiers and water bottles (20 liters) and varnishes used to coat packaging are good examples of where this chemical compound can be found.

The National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), prohibits the manufacture and sale of baby bottles that use bisphenol A. However, other products with the substance can be made and marketed in Brazil.

Circadian rhythm

On average, an adult sleeps 8 hours and stays awake for the other 16 hours.

While in its “waking phase”, the body activates and increases some physical and mental functions. In the sleep period, there is a decrease in heart rate, breathing and body temperature.

The circadian rhythm is the biological clock that controls the waking hours and the hours of sleep, in addition to being responsible for telling the body if the functions, such as beating the heart, should be accelerated or decreased.