You’re probably aware of your internal clock. But, according to the Nobel Prize-winning research of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young, it might be more accurate to refer to our internal clocks instead.
The scientists’ work shows that “clocks” are running in every cell of our bodies all the time. Different systems in the body have different times for peak function, and all of these systems are kept in sync by the brain, the “master clock” that’s set by the light-dark cycle. If you disrupt the signals from the master clock—for example, eat a meal when you should be going to sleep—the clocks get out of sync.
If your body clocks’ synchronization is disrupted by a single all-nighter or a bout of jet lag, they can get back on schedule. If keeping them out-of-sync becomes a way of life, however, the research suggests you might be more susceptible to chronic illness and conditions like obesity. “What we’re doing now in medicine is what Einstein did for physics,” says Fred Turek, a circadian scientist at Northwestern University. “He brought time to physics. We’re bringing time to biology.”
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