Trees Go to ‘Sleep’ at Night, New Study Shows

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A new study on the day/night rhythm in trees has uncovered a physical change that’s akin to ‘sleeping.’. (Photo: sNike/Shutterstock) The next time you decide to take a midnight stroll through the forest, mind your footsteps. The trees are sleeping. That’s the fascinating conclusion drawn by a team of scientists from Austria, Finland and Hungary who wanted to know if trees followed day/night cycles similar to those observed in small plants. Using laser scanners pointed at two birch trees, the scientists recorded physical changes indicative of a nighttime slumber, with the tips of the birch branches drooping by as much as 4 inches towards the end of the night. "Our results show that the whole tree droops during night which can be seen as position change in leaves and branches," Eetu Puttonen from the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute said in a statement . "The changes are not too large, only up to 10 cm for trees with a height of about 5 meters, but they were systematic and well within the accuracy of our instruments." A birch tree at night (left) experiences more branch dropping than during the day (right). (Photo: Eetu Puttonen/Vienna University of Technology, TU Vienna) In […]

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