Researchers are trying to understand and learn more about the “circadian clock” in our brains, which can determine when to sleep, eat, and exercise.
There are about 20,000 neurons near the center of the brain that control unconscious functions of our body like breathing. This “clock” is psychologically influenced through environmental cues such as light and food.
Shogo Sato, Assistant Professor of Biology, Texas A&M University, wrote in a paper: “Humans are not the only creatures with an internal clock system. Conversation.
All vertebrates – or mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish – have circadian clocks, as do plants, fungi, and bacteria.
For example, the human body regulates the sleep-wake cycle by releasing certain hormones throughout the day. Melatonin, for example, is a hormone that helps regulate sleep in response to darkness but our sleep cycles can be disrupted by the artificial blue light from our technology. That’s why doctors recommend reducing screen time at night.
Another example is how our bodies are affected during exercise depending on the time of day.
The researchers studied mice that exercised before breakfast or after dinner late in the evening. They discovered how exercise affects every part of the body differently throughout the day. For example, morning exercise lowers blood sugar more than evening exercise, while evening exercise increases endurance.
The biological clock is a wondrous part of the human body that researchers like Sato are interested in continuing to explore and sharing their findings with the world.