There’s a master “circadian clock” in your brain that maintains your rhythms of sleeping and waking — and for the first time, scientists may have found a way to control it.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have discovered a “reset” button for this biological clock, which could pave the way for more effective treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), jet lag and some of the negative health effects of shift work.
The biological clock is located in the brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) — a tiny region within the hypothalamus, a section of the brain that controls hormone production. The SCN maintains a 24-hour cycle of rest and activity that helps us figure out when we should be eating and sleeping. The cycle is also linked to biological activities like hormone regulation, brain wave activity and cell regeneration. And while these rhythms are regulated in the brain, they’re affected by external cues like light and temperature.