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p. 454. Shedding light on the clocklocked

  • Russell G. Foster
  •  and Leon Kreitzman


Most circadian clocks make use of a sun-based mechanism as the primary entraining signal to lock the internal day to the astronomical day. For nearly four billion years, dawn and dusk has been the main zeitgeber that allows entrainment. Circadian clocks are not exactly 24 hours. So to prevent daily patterns of activity and rest from freerunning over time, light can reset the clock. ‘Shedding light on the clock’ explains that the main circadian clock has been located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus. This also regulates the activity of the autonomic nervous system, but there are clocks in virtually every cell in the human body. Other zeitgebers include food, physical exercise, and temperature.

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