Article ID: 613846

Released: 3-Mar-2014 2:00 PM EST

Source Newsroom: University of Tennessee

Expert Pitch

This weekend, we turn our clocks forward an hour.

It’s just one hour of time shift but that’s enough to create a disruption of the body’s internal clock, scientifically termed "the circadian rhythm."

Sleep loss has consequences beyond our needing to stifle a yawn or consume more caffeine to remain alert. The “body’s internal clock” regulates a number of critical biological processes in the human body over a roughly 24-hour schedule, including hormone production, brain wave activity and cell regeneration. Any time shift in the sleep schedule, whether it results from time zone changes, shift work, change in routine or medications, disrupts these chronobiological rhythms that influence the quality and duration of sleep.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has two faculty experts who engage in research related to sleep.

Professor Rebecca Prosser, Department of Biochemistry and Cellular, and Molecular Biology, conducts research on the biological aspects of sleep, particularly the circadian rhythm. She can be reached at rprosser@utk.edu or 865-974-2772.

Professor Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and on the faculty of the Department of Psychology, conducts research on sleep patterns over the lifecycle, and how sleep patterns and the need for sleep vary by age. She can be reached at tlee35@utk.edu or 865-974-4377.

If you need assistance reaching these experts, call Amy Blakely, 865-974-5034.


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