9 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Body's Internal Clock

Sure, you can adjust the time displayed on your alarm clock for the Daylight Saving Time change, but your body might not be so quick to take a hint. And you can thank your internal clock for that.

Internal clocks, technically called circadian rhythms, are actually a series of internal variations in the body controlled by the brain that occur along a roughly 24-hour cycle. They are highly sensitive to light, and the lack thereof associated with Sunday's end of Daylight Saving Time can throw off your internal clocks for days.

"Springing forward" in March is actually the more disruptive time change as far as your circadian rhythm and Daylight Saving Time are concerned. But still, you may find yourself waking up before your alarm or craving dinner at the wrong time in the days after "falling back," due to the disruption to your internal clock.

Scientists still don't have all the answers when it comes to circadian rhythms, but what is known is pretty interesting. Here are a few fun facts you may not have heard before.

  • Electronic light is totally screwing up your internal clock.
  • Camping could help reset it to a more natural rhythm.
  • You can give yourself jet lag without buying a plane ticket.
  • Jet lag and other sleep problems are actually considered circadian rhythm disorders.
  • Some of our genes operate on internal “clocks” and messing with your sleep upsets almost all of them.
  • Some of those genes affect the immune system.
  • A wonky circadian clock could affect fertility.
  • Sleep problems in people with depression may be due to faulty circadian clocks.
  • Even fruits and veggies have circadian clocks.


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