Colors plays vital role in Mammalian Circadian Clock not brightness

Most of us love to see the beautiful colors of the sunset. Now, scientists are saying that those colors not only play a big role in creating a pretty picture, but are also extremely important to the functioning of animals’ body internal clock. The internal clock is the term used for the biological tick tock that governs every single action of our body starting from digestion to sleep patterns.

Scientists have come to this conclusion after carrying out a study involving mice; the rodents were found to be using the changing color of light to set their body’s internal clock. Researchers are convinced that this finding will hold even for humans.

Carrie Partch, a researcher involved in this study and a biochemist representing the University of California, Santa Cruz, said that this discovery shows how people have started to get closer to the actual factors influencing environmental adaptations of clocks.


Scientists came to know about the huge role light plays in administering circadian rhythms a long time back; that theory synchronizes animals life’s ebb perfectly and also flow with the 24- hour day concept. However, scientists didn’t have any idea about how different properties of light, for instance, brightness, color, etc. influence the clock.

Tim Brown, another author of this new animal study and a neuroscientist representing the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, said that people’s common sense forced them to assume that our internal clock somehow manages to measure the intensity of light present in the outside world. Brown and his team started working with the belief that the theory is more sophisticated that the above-mentioned assumption.


The team built an “artificial sky”, which included LEDs of different colors behind a sky-like diffusive screen. The artificial sky was placed above the caged rodents. Scientists simulated different times of a day both with and without changing colors.

Here, it must be mentioned that mice are nocturnal; their body temperature peaks up at night. Scientists found that the body clocks of the mice got confused whenever natural color changes stopped in the artificial sky. This resulted in the early arrival of the peak temperature; the mice taking part in the study reached their maximum body temperature 30 minutes earlier than under natural conditions.

The entire study has been published in the recent edition of the journal PLOS Biology.

About the author

Nitin Agarwal

Nitin Agarwal

Nitin has a background in Electrical Engineering and is passionate about the Internet of Things. He covers how connected devices like smart homes, wearables, and industrial IoT are changing our daily lives. Nitin is also a DIY enthusiast and loves to build IoT gadgets.