On March 9, we all have to remember to set our clocks AHEAD one hour, but our biological clocks may take longer to adjust. And this year was leap year, with a 29th of February. Why do we need leap year anyway?

When it comes to our biological clocks, researchers have learned that circadian rhythms?the 24-hour cycles that keep our bodies on time?are involved in sleep, weight gain, mood disorders, and a variety of diseases. For instance, Recent findings suggest that circadian rhythms are intricately tied to weight gain. When researcher Carla Green fed high-fat diets to mice with and without a protein involved in circadian rhythms, they found that the mice lacking the protein gained only a modest amount while the mice with the protein nearly doubled their body weight. The findings suggest that circadian rhythms regulate metabolic processes involved in diet-induced weight gain.

In LiveScience.com, Robert Roy Britt explains what leap year is all about. Every 4 years, we “fix” the calendar by adding an extra day onto the end of February. Earth makes a single trip around the sun in 365.2422 days, but we’ve shortened the calendar year to 365 days, so every four years, we add an extra day (and every few years we add a “leap second” to compensate for the fact that earth’s rotation is slowing down. This was last done in 2005.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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