The biological clock is an internal mechanism of living beings that allows them to orient themselves temporarily. What it does, basically, is to arrange in time various organic activities such as sleeping, eating, etc.
The biological clock, like the conventional clock, works in cycles. This means that it develops continuous sequences that are completed and start again. That is the reason why, from time to time, we feel hungry or sleepy again, for example.
This clock is related to functions such as the regulation of sleep, the release of hormones, eating behaviour and even blood pressure and body temperature. Scientists say it is a kind of ‘molecular script’ that all living organisms possess.
How does the biological clock work?
The biological clock is a dance of genes in which basically two of them predominate during the day, while two others prevail at night. Its action is complemented by at least ten other genes. Together they regulate the day and night processes of the organism.
The mechanism of action is as follows:
- At the beginning of the day, the clock and cycle genes are activated and the proteins they produce accumulate throughout the day.
- When there is a large accumulation of such proteins, towards the beginning of the night, other genes called period and time are activated.
- Throughout the night, the proteins generated by the period and time genes accumulate. This inhibits the production of clock and cycle.
- As the proteins of the clock and cycle genes decrease, the period and time genes are deactivated.
An organism works better and is more stable if it is functioning at the correct pace of the biological clock. This basically means sleeping the right number of hours at night and being active during the day, eating at the most convenient times.
This internal chronometer works both in each cell and in each organ of the body of living beings. The way that clock works in each individual determines a certain tendency to be more productive at certain times.
Likewise, the response of the organism to external stimuli changes, depending on the time. It is known, for example, that the body reacts differently to a drug if it is taken during the day, in the afternoon or at night.