What Makes You Tick: Circadian Rhythms

How do you know when it’s time to sleep or time to wake up in the morning more powerful than any alarms?

Honor your own circadian rhythms, 24-hour cycles and biological processes that exist in every living thing?

They keep your body functioning on schedule, day and night wherever you are and the key to it all is a bunch of cells in the retina of the eye called photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, whilst the eyes rod and cone cells are responsible for vision.

These retinal ganglion cells detect the brightness of our surroundings and send that information through the optic nerve to the suprachiasmatic nuclei, the brains, master clock. The master clock coordinates all the tiny clocks that govern the behavior of the cells throughout the body.

Taking light as its cue, the master clock determines a continuous cycle of physiological changes within our cells, including the production of hormones that prepare our bodies for waking and sleeping hours.

Experiments show that when a person is kept in too high early in the dark, their circadian rhythm hardly alters, keeping more or less a 24-hour day, but seeing too much or too little light or receiving light at the wrong times a day can leave the master clock Confused as to time of day, this upsets the rhythm of ourselves and impacts on our health and well-being. It’S a real problem for people who work at night, those with sleep disorders and also those with certain visual impairments that prevent light reaching those light.

Detecting ganglion cells studies have shown that disruptions to our natural rhythms put an extraordinary strain on the body, increasing the risk of a number of serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, type, 2, diabetes and depression.

It can also impair your ability to think, which is why, here at Oxford, we are researching whether delaying the start of the school day by an hour or two to better suit.

The body clock of the average teenager could improve their exam results.

As anyone can attest, you may not be able to hear it clicking, but you can certainly feel your bodies clock at work.

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