Edward Willett

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Circadian desynchrony and the blue light special

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/uploads//2012/12/Circadian-Deosynchrony-and-the-Blue-Light-Special.mp3[/podcast] We’re coming up on the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere: at the latitude I live at, in Regina, Saskatchewan, that means that today the sun rose at 8:49 a.m. and will set at 4:54 p.m. We’ll lose a few more minutes yet before the winter solstice. That’s not a lot of daylight: we spend two-thirds of our day in darkness this time of the year, and of course further north it’s even worse, until you get to the Arctic and twenty-four hours of sunlessness. Thank goodness for artificial light! It means we can live pretty much as we want without being a slave to the natural ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:09, December 10th, 2012 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | Comment now »

The tick of the biological clock

Before I had a baby daughter to keep me sleep-deprived, I almost always woke up a few minutes before the alarm went off. It's a common phenomenon, and it's only possible because we each have an additional clock, not on our bedside tables, but in our heads.  These clocks regulate a number of bodily functions, of which sleep is only the most obvious. Although we can't speed up or slow down our internal clock, we can reset it, because it's light-sensitive--and that light doesn't have to shine in our eyes;  we have light detectors in cells throughout our bodies, so that even shining a light on the back of someone's knees can affect ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 4:20, February 11th, 2003 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | Comment now »