The role of the biological clock in the proper functioning of the body


The role of the biological clock in the proper functioning of the body

The quality of life is influenced by a variety of factors, from the lifestyle to the inheritance of genes that predispose a person to certain genetic diseases.  Choices such as eating, smoking or playing a sport play a fundamental role in how the body copes with the challenges of time. All these factors also have an impact on the biological clock, which is in the hypothalamus and is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus.

What is the role of the suprachiasmatic nucleus? 

Composed of 20,000 neurons, this nucleus has the role of controlling and coordinating the biological clocks of the body. Almost every tissue or organ has its own biological clock, which is the body’s innate mechanism of synchronization. Biological clocks help form circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythm involves the physical, mental and behavioural changes in an organism, these changes following a daily cycle of 24 hours. An example is how an organism reacts to the light-dark sequence - the night being a rest period and the day one of activity. The role of the suprachiasmatic nucleus is to control all biological clocks and to ensure that they remain synchronized.  

Does the circadian rhythm influence a person's health or the proper functioning of the body?

The circadian rhythm plays an important role in the sleep-wake cycles, in the release of hormones, it influences the eating habits and the digestion or body temperature.  Abnormal circadian rhythms, caused by biological clocks that work faster or slower, can cause chronic medical conditions such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, or seasonal disorders.  

What is the connection between circadian rhythm and sleep? 

The circadian rhythm influences a person's sleep pattern. Adults who have a regular sleep pattern usually have a decrease in energy between 1 pm to 3 pm and 2 am to 4 am. When the brain receives information about the decrease in light intensity, as happens at night, the suprachiasmatic nucleus secretes a greater quantity of melatonin to give the sensation of drowsiness. The medical community expressed numerous concerns regarding the impact that the light of smartphones has on circadian rhythms and their disturbance of sleep patterns. 

Solutions for a good regulation of the circadian rhythm
  1. Regular sleep program - it is extremely important for the balance of a person's biological clock to fall asleep starting at the same time each evening. Equally important is the awakening, which must respect a fixed time. Extra sleep during the weekend can lead to disturbances of the circadian rhythm.
  2. Morning walks - exposure to sunlight can give us an energy boost, but it also has the ability to adjust the circadian rhythm.  A short walk will give the brain the signal that it's time for the day to begin.
  3. Reduce the time spent in front of screens before bedtime - the blue light emanating from the screen of laptops, tablets or smartphones can confuse the brain, making it believe that it is still daytime, which will lead to the biological clock disturbance.  Therefore, it is advisable to avoid these devices two or three hours before bedtime.  

The biological clock of the body represents a powerful instrument by which the body interprets and interacts with the external stimuli.

A private health insurance is an effective solution that provides access to preventive medical services through which a person avoids the occurrence of serious illnesses, which disrupt both the biological clock and other essential functions of the body.