Applied chronobiology for the benefit of individuals and society
Chronobiology is the science of the biology of time (gr. chronos). The temporal structures of human biology are coordinated by the circadian system. The circadian system - the internal clock - is involved in the regulation of the entire physiology, from gene expression to behavior. Characteristically, the circadian system has an endogenous periodicity of only about 24 hours. Therefore, the circadian system must be synchronized daily with the 24-hour day so that the internal clock synchronously "ticks" with the environment. The environmental signals that can set the circadian system are called zeitgebers. In the course of evolution, sunlight - rhythmically given by sunrise and sunset - was the most reliable zeitgeber for the human circadian system. Other equally important zeitgebers are regular food intake and physical activity. If the process of synchronizing our biology with the environment is permanently disturbed ("life against the internal clock"), then adverse consequences for health will follow. An example of a pronounced life against the inner clock can be working in alternating shifts and at night. In this context, disorders of important hormones and physiological processes for healthy sleep, the immune and cardiovascular system are described. Possible long-term consequences include insomnia, reduced performance, increased accident frequency, depression, metabolic disorders, obesity, cardiovascular problems or even cancer. However, the challenges of the internal clock are not focused solely on the field of work, but also affect the behavior and lifestyle during leisure time (sleep, light and time hygiene). In addition, the consequences are not limited to the individual, because safety-related deficits usually affect more than one person and the burden on the insurance carriers due to increased use of medical services at the end of the day affects all of us. For these reasons, the confrontation with the origins of health and safety-related consequences of a life against the internal clock is a challenge for society as a whole.
SynOpus advises on everyday solutions to help individuals to live with – not without - their inner clock to prevent sleep, health and performance disorders.
The consulting services provided by SynOpus primarily include the areas of working time and workplace design, for example in the context of shift- and night-work or school. The focus here is on the health-preserving treatment of both natural light as well as artificial lighting and time. Solutions for individual light and time hygiene should help to stay healthy or to get well again. Dealing with time properly results in health and wellbeing.
The consulting services offered by SynOpus are aimed at individuals as well as at research institutions and companies.
I look forward to get in contact with you to find out together how SynOpus can support you.
Prof. Dr. habil. Thomas Kantermann