Biological clock located in the brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is a tiny region within the hypothalamus, a section of the brain that controls hormone production. The SCN maintains a 24-hour cycle of rest and activity that helps us figure out when we should be eating and sleeping. The cycle is also linked to biological activities like hormone regulation, brain wave activity and cell regeneration. And while these rhythms are regulated in the brain, they're affected by external cues like light and temperature.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have discovered a "reset" button for this biological clock, which could pave the way for more effective treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), jet lag and some of the negative health effects of shift work. In their research, the Vanderbilt scientists found that they were able to artificially stimulate mice's brains with a specific technique to change when the mice naturally woke up and went to sleep, without needing to change the light. They did this by stimulating or suppressing neurons in the SCN, effectively "resetting" the biological clock.