what is the biological clock

Our life is set to a 24-hour rhythm: the alternation of light and dark, which is caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis in the light of the Sun. Many processes in our body exhibit this same rhythmic gradient in a 24-hour period. We have a so-called biological clock that regulates these 24-hour rhythms.

This biological clock functions partly as a result of light. There are experiments where volunteers are long days and nights in completely dark and soundproof rooms were shut up. Any possibility to estimate the time was missing. It turned out that most people had a slightly longer rhythm than 24 hours, namely between 24.5 and 25.5 hours. Under the influence of all kinds of signals from your environment is your biological clock adjusted again and again on the actual day-night rhythm of 24 hours. The influence of light is very important, but also social factors as the alarm clock in the morning and the regularity in daily work.

Day-night rhythm not only us but also a huge range of biological processes in our body is influenced by our biological clock. Examples of this are the hormone levels of growth hormones like prolactin and cortisone and your body temperature. Your biological clock also plays a major role in the maintenance of your vigilance. This allows you to stay awake at certain times of the day better than on the other. This is called time-varying vigilance. This is the highest and the lowest at around 9 am and 9 pm around 3 pm (the after-the-lunch-dip) and 3.00 pm.

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