Research that helped discover the clocks running in every cell in our bodies earned three scientists a Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday.
“With exquisite precision, our inner clock adapts our physiology to the dramatically different phases of the day,” the Nobel Prize committee wrote of the work of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. “The clock regulates critical functions such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism.”
We humans are time-keeping machines. And it seems we need regular sleeping and eating schedules to keep all of our clocks in sync.
Studies show that if we mess with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle — say, by working an overnight shift, taking a trans-Aatlantic flight or staying up all night with a new baby or puppy — we pay the price.
Our blood pressure goes up, hunger hormones get thrown off and blood sugar control goes south.
We can all recover from an occasional all-nighter, an episode of jet lag or short-term disruptions.