AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Waking up without the alarm clock? There’s a reason!


Have you ever wondered why you wake up before your alarm clock?

This article explains how new studies show that humans do have a special biological clock that allows us to wake up in the morning. This “clock” gets our metabolism going early in the day, the signal to wake up our bodies.  The important part of this biological clock is a protein called PERIOD (PER).  This protein rises and falls in our bodies throughout a 24 hour cycle. When PER lowers at night, our heart rate slows, our blood pressure lowers, and our mental processes slow down.  Now, through studies funded by Salk’s Innovation Fund, it is found an enzyme helps raise the PER protein once again in the morning.  This enzyme, JARID1a, is required for normal cycling, including the circadian rhythm.

Have your grandparents ever wondered why they can not sleep at night as well anymore?  Findings show that as you grow older, your biological clock declines, and with it, a difficulty in sleeping.

Even diabetes has been linked to this research.  Diabetes goes in turn with the biological clock, which controls its metabolic cycles.  The conversion of fats and sugars only take place at certain times of the day.  With someone who has diabetes, this suggests that the biological clock has lost control.

Numerous times I have woken up before my alarm clock, frustrated about not getting those extra few minutes of sleep.  Now, through this study, I understand that its my bodies’ protein levels telling my metabolism to start the day.

For more information on your biological clock, click here.


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  1. Sameer

    The above theory suggests that you will wake up at the same time every day. But I have the capability of waking up a time that I decided to wake up at before going to sleep. Can someone please explain that?

  2. R M Aggarwal

    I do sometimes, and in fact generally wake up in the morning, before my alarm clock tickles; but is there any specific reason, as to why one should wake up without an alarm clock ?

    Any answers ?

  3. ayl103

    That is so interesting! I always wondered why I woke up before my alarm clock went off. Did you know that plants have their own biological clocks? Circadian rhythms also occur in plants. This allows them to know when it is the right season for them to start growing/blooming. But people can now buy flowers that grow in a specific season any time of the year because producers can now copy the light of a season in a green house. Here take a look at this website:

  4. lp719

    I really enjoyed reading this because I always wonder why I wake up at certain times. Usually, I am able to sleep through the night if I have completed all of my homework. However, if I have not finished my homework or still have a test to study for, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, as if my body is telling me that I need to wake up to study! I was interested to see if this had anything to do with our biological clocks and found that it had to do with our circadian rhythms. I learned that our circadian rhythms are disrupted if we have changes in our sleep schedules due to work or other responsibilities. I found an article that explains more about circadian rhythm disorders and listed it below. Next time I have to study for a test, I will make sure I study ahead of time, so I don’t have to stay up late and mess up my circadian rhythm!

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