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Our lives are ruled by time; we use time to tell us what to do. But the alarm clock that wakes us in the morning or the wristwatch that tells us we are late for supper are unnatural clocks. Our biology answers to a profoundly more ancient beat that probably started to tick early in the evolution of all life.

Embedded within the genes of us, and almost all life on earth, are the instructions for a biological clock that marks the passage of around 24 hours. Biological clocks or “circadian clocks” help time our sleep patterns, alertness, mood, physical strength, blood pressure and much more.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Russell Foster, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. 

Oxford is a subscribing member of The ConversationFind out how you can write for The Conversation.

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