Plants Need to Sleep Too

I don’t know if you will call it obsession but I do check my vegetable plants almost every hour. Watching them grow gives me pleasure. I’ve noticed that among my plants, bitter gourd is the fastest growing, almost 3 inches (just a rough estimate) adds to its length everyday. I’ve also noticed that plants do sleep too. Every night, the leaves of my Chinese cabbage (pechay) fold up its top pairs of leaves while the leaves of my lady fingers (okra) and bitter gourd droop. At first I thought my plants may be sick but the next morning the leaves are normal and healthy again.

lady finger during daytime

lady finger with drooping leaves at night

bitter gourd, leaves are fresh during daytime

bitter gourd at night

The folding and drooping of leaves are called nystinastic moves or night-induced movement. However, not all plants are nyctinastic. These movements show that plants observe Circadian rhythm and sleep too. Circadian rhythm is a 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants and animals. And just like us, plants need 8 hours or more of sleep every night.

Well, that is how the world works, isn’t it…working during the day and sleeping at night or vice versa.

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