Thanks to the Nobel Prize, the importance of the circadian rhythm has hit the headlines
Greenlite Group is delighted that wellbeing and the circadian rhythm have been propelled into the limelight. As the leading name in commercial lighting, we know only too well how vital our body clock is to our wellbeing, and the essential role lighting plays when it comes to helping it keep time.
In a fitting accolade, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has now been awarded to the scientists who discovered how our circadian rhythm works. Using fruit flies, American trio Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young isolated the gene that controls our body clocks.
Their pioneering work, which dates back to the 1980s, provided the key to unlocking a mine of information about the way our internal clocks regulate our sleep cycles, metabolism and blood pressure over a 24-hour period. As the Nobel Prize committee says, they enabled us to “peek inside our biological clock”, which programs us to be alert during the day and sleep at night.
Their thinking also paved the way to vital research into what happens when we disturb our circadian rhythm. We’re biologically conditioned to be alert during the day when it’s light and sleep at night when it’s dark, and it’s now known that disturbing this rhythm over a long period increases our risk of heart disease, obesity and even cancer.
For us at Greenlite, the most exciting outcome of their research has been the deepened understanding about the interplay between light and our wellbeing, an issue close to our heart. The way we light our environment has huge implications for our sleep and mental and physical health. As Michael Rosbach says: “The circadian system has its tentacles around everything.”