Inside every one of us is a clock, a tiny cluster of 20,000 cells in the frontal part of the brain. This natural chronometer, set by morning light hitting the retina, establishes our roughly 24—hour biological pace, also known as circadian rhythm. The clock then sends a signal to most body organs: It’s time to wake up. When the lights go off at night, it preps the body for sleep.
Rooted in Earth’s light—dark cycles, this timer makes us who we are: diurnal animals deeply attuned to a most basic feature of the environment. If we throw off that synchrony repeatedly, we are at risk of developing disorders from sleep disturbances to cancer. Yet a surprising force stronger than dusk and dawn can easily break its flow, scientists say, pushing our bodies into a precarious abyss of biological malfunction. It’s not pollution. It’s not heavy metals. It’s not even stress.
It’s food. Read Full Story