ED Talks: Biological Clocks – Wednesday, January 17, 7:00 PM
Time is embedded in our genes. Cells are the true ”miracle” of evolution, for they are the basis of life. Among their amazing abilities, they can tell the time. Biological clocks can be found everywhere: from simple bacteria to worms, birds, and, of course, us. The reason for this expanse of clocks is clear: all life evolved and lives on a planet that rotates on its axis once a day and thus is exposed to large periods of day and night, light and dark.
Sleeping is not the only process regulated by our biological clock. Most of what happens in our bodies, our physiology and biochemistry, is rhythmic, showing strong day-night differences. Heartbeat and blood pressure, liver function including the important ability to metabolize alcohol, body temperature, and the production of many hormones all show daily changes.
Biological clocks enable organisms to change their behavior priorities in relation to the time of day, month or year. One’s biological clock is reset at sunrise and sunset each day to link astronomical times with an organism’s internal time.
Every March, we are all faced with the arrival of Daylight Saving Time and its impact on our biological clock and our sleep wake cycle. This 1 hour loss in time can even temporarily disrupt our bodily cycles. When DST officially began, which happened this year on March 11 , we lost one hour. Assaults increase by 3 per cent the Monday after the switch to Daylight Saving Time in the Spring. In the Spring, the day after we move into DST, there are more car accidents, and more workplace injuries.