The Biological Body Clock

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 The biological clock is essential for the functioning of the organism. But what is its role? Where is it located? Can we fix it? Dr Rey, neurologist, explains.

The biological clock plays an important role in the functioning of the body. In fact, it controls the major biological functions such as sleep, body temperature, the immune system, etc.


What is it concretely?

The biological clock is a set of neurons that regulate a number of biological actions in the body. This is for example the case with hormonal secretions. Thus, cortisol is secreted in the morning and not at night. The body temperature drops at night, not during the day. “The biological clock makes it possible to synchronize a set of cells to do things at the same time for about 24 hours. Before, it was thought to be due to environmental rhythms. It’s actually independent of the environment around us.” , explains Dr Marc Rey, neurologist in charge of the Marseille sleep center.

Where is it located?

It is at the level of the hypothalamus, more precisely of the suprachiasmatic nuclei that it is located.

Can we fix it?

The biological clock is reset every day thanks to the light / dark cycle. “There are a multitude of adjusters, synchronizers, that keep the body clock on time every day. In today’s society, many people work at night and sleep during the day, but it is costly for the biological clock. There is indeed a sleep debt because daytime sleep is not the same as nighttime sleep. It is important to recover by sleeping at night. “

What role does it play in sleep?

When it is dark, the epiphysis secretes melatonin, which promotes sleep. It is not secreted during the day. Its secretion thus informs the organism of the length of the night. It should also be noted that it is disturbed when computer screens, telephone screens, etc., are seen up close. They emit blue light, which is reminiscent of the blue of the sky and blocks the secretion of melatonin.

Is there a difference between women and men?

Unlike men, “women have their biological rhythm which is dependent on hormones. And hormonal rhythms modify the sleep / wake rhythm, which makes women’s sleep more fragile, says the neurologist. In addition, the biological rhythm is modified during pregnancy. Pregnant women secrete a lot of progesterone, a sleep-inducing hormone. “

“When sleep awakens us” by Dr Marc Rey published by Solar.

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