How Your Body’s Internal Clock Might Be Messing With Your Sleep


Ever notice your body seems to do certain
things around the same time each day? You wake up around the same time, feel peckish
around the same time, and are tired and ready for sleep around the same time. You might think it’s habit, but it’s actually
thanks to biological processes that keep your body in lock step as the day progresses. That daily clock is called a circadian rhythm,
and most living organisms have one. From fruit flies to daffodils to microscopic
organisms, if it lives under the sun chances are there’s something that keeps it in tune
with the sun’s 24-hour pattern. In humans, there are proteins in nearly every
tissue and organ that help maintain proper timing, but they don’t function independently. Inside your brain is something like a master
clock that all other biological clocks sync up to. This master clock is called the suprachiasmatic
nucleus, and it’s made up of around just 20,000 neurons arranged in two tiny wing-like
structures nestled inside your hypothalamus. The hypothalamus plays a big role in releasing
hormones and controlling appetite, among other things, so the suprachiasmatic nucleus’
place here makes sense if it’s going to be in charge of keeping your body clock synchronized. But it’s not run by gears or bits in a computer,
it’s run by biological processes. In the suprachiasmatic nucleus there are proteins
produced on a negative feedback loop. The proteins (called PERIOD and cryptochrome)
switch off their own production when they build up, and cells resume production once
the proteins degrade. These protein cycles peak about every 24 hours,
though it’s not exact. A 1974 study left 15 people without clocks
or daylight for up to 13 days. The researchers found the humans tended to
live on a day of between 25 and 27 hours. Since these proteins are so important to staying
in sync, genetic mutations that change their structure can throw a person’s internal
clock out of whack. People with familial advanced sleep phase
syndrome produce and unstable PERIOD 2 protein, which speeds up their circadian rhythm. As a result they’re up at 3am and in bed
by 7pm. No partying for them. You may have noticed though that when you
travel or set your clock forward for daylight savings, your body eventually adjusts. That’s because light has a big influence
on your suprachiasmatic nucleus too. The light your eyes take in turns certain
genes in the cells on or off, coding the proteins that keep time. This is why light is the biggest external
factor in keeping a steady rhythm, and why you don’t seem to get tired when you stay
up late looking at a phone screen. But light isn’t the ONLY factor, your body
clock is influenced by things like eating cues and social cues as well. An unstable or abused circadian rhythm can
have medical implications. Lack of sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms
have been linked to obesity, depression, and other chronic illnesses. So if it’s late at night and you’re watching
this, do yourself a favor, put the phone down and get some rest. Or turn on night mode and watch just one more
episode. Like staying up all night watching al science
videos? You should definitely subscribe and check
out my video on how blue light from this very screen is messing with your body clock RIGHT
NOW. Also Fun fact: The term circadian comes from
the latin words circa, meaning around, and diem, meaning day. It’s your rhythm around the day. Neat right? Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “How Your Body’s Internal Clock Might Be Messing With Your Sleep”

  1. Interesting, but a sample of 15 people is way, way, way too small for the results to have any significance. Respect and follow the scientific method!

  2. My body does not adjust for winter time. I wake up an hour earlier and get tired an hour earlier all through non daylight saving time. I have tried forcing my body clock to change over the years but I can not get it to work.

  3. I know mine is messed up as hell, but it is rather chronic illness that is causing it not the other way around. If only it was the way around suggested by the video, I would have means of helping myself.

    If only there was a way to sleep less without dying?

  4. The biggest thing that helped me is only drinking caffeine when I wake up. Once I quit taking in any more after waking I could go to sleep within 20 minutes of lying down again

  5. I switched from day-shift to night-shift over a month ago, and my sleep patterns still haven't caught up. I keep waking up when I'm trying to sleep and dozing off in the middle of whatever time I'm trying to be awake. It's killing me.

  6. Late nighters are always getting discriminated against when our internal clocks are offset from early birds. Night owls just don’t have their peak productivity in the 6-11 AM hours. I put up blackout curtains and use a fan as white noise to block out 6AM daylight and road noises since I sleep later and get up at 10 and not 6.

  7. Even with sunlight my clock seems to run on a 25-27 hrs cycle because I always end up going to bed later and later through the week and by Thursday – Friday my 9 alarm sometimes fail to wake me up for work, I have to set alarms every 10 minutes from 4am to 5:30am or else I'm not going to work that day and then I spend pretty much the entire weekend asleep catching up on what I missed through the week some days I end up going to work without any sleep even though I try to sleep, sometimes I basically lie down on my bed in a pitch black room for a few hrs until my alarms go off but my body won't allow me to sleep then by 12pm I'm almost passing out at work, the doctor tells me I'm just lazy

  8. Ever since I've been on morphine for back pain my clock has been screwed up, and that is going on 10 years now. I go to bed and never know id I will sleep for 3 hours or 18, and either is plausible. Makes trying to make any plans in advance almost impossible.

  9. My sleep pattern is fucking my life its 3am to 12 pm.how can i change it??my college starts at 9am,26th january was the last time i went to college,now exams coming in december and i m doomed.😢😢😢😢

  10. Is it normal for someone to only naturally wake up at 10:00 am? I can't sleep before 02:00 naturally, and the "typical" 9-5 job wrecks my life.

  11. when I was a kid I used to sleep around 8:30 – 9:00 pm. as i grow older the time increase (due to use phones and plying video games, sometimes school works) Now my normal time for bed is around 2:00 -or 3:00 AM.

  12. When I have to stay up to take my bum ass friend to work because he doesn’t have a car and the bus isn’t going to leave at the right time just so he can pay rent ruins my sleep schedule

  13. Hey yeah I poop around 7:20am and then again at 7:45 just in time to go to class, thank you biological clock for making me poop twice can you like make it happen in one sitting for crying out loud

  14. This is the best audience interaction video ever. I just got in trouble at work today because I stay up late and watch YouTube and today I planned to sleep early but it is 1 AM right now and I am watching this video. The end note was on point!

  15. But what if your clock wakes you up afternoon, keeps you up all night, and sleep all morning, that's my natural rhythm I get sleepy when the sun comes up unless I stay up like pass 9 then I can't go to sleep until the next morning.

  16. Superchiasmaticnucleusexpialidocious!
    Even though the sound of it
    Is something quite atrocious
    If you say it loud enough
    You'll always sound precocious

  17. I actually watched this video because I couldn’t fall asleep. Again… yesterday I finally did at ~1:30 and had to wake up at 6:50. Today I went sleep around 23:00 and… …. I can’t really see myslef sleeping ik next 2 hours

  18. Not sure if my "clock" is even working. I go to sleep when I'm tired and wake up when I'm not. My wake time is obviously longer than my sleep time, so my sleep cycle changes every day. The time of day seems to be irrelevant to me. The only thing that's consistent is how long I sleep, being 9 hours, and how long I'm awake (about 16 hours). As for as food goes, I only seem to eat when I wake up and before I go to sleep.

  19. I’m turning off my phone ok I going to sleep watches just one more episode forgets about time and stays up for 3 more hours

  20. There was this monk who live 1 hundred of years. He says he sleep too early and wake up early. Nowadays we people are busy working and going home late.

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