The Sun is Our Natural Clock

The secrets of how our body’s biological clocks adjust to the shorter days of winter, can give us insight into the mechanism behind jet-lag and the effects of shift-work. Researchers are studying plants and the daily cycle of activities, called circadian rhythms. They are discovering precisely fine-tuned processes which allow the plant’s genes to change their responses as the hours of dawn and dusk change each day. The plant’s genes apparently also able to respond to the length of the daylight in each day.

This amazingly delicate system allows plants to make the needed adjustments each and every day. The plants daily reset their internal clocks in response to the seasonal variations in daylight. This is what allows the plant to control the timing of crucial activities including growth and flowering.

These findings bear relevance to the same rhythms found in humans. People’s rhythms also respond to variations in amounts of daylight, interruptions in the rhythms, etc. International travel in high speed airplanes can wreak havoc with the delicate balance of our circadian cycles.