Previous results evidenced acute exposure to high altitude (HA) weakening the relation between daily melatonin cycle and the respiratory quotient. This review deals with the threat extreme environments pose on body time order, particularly concerning energy metabolism. Working at HA, at poles, or in space challenge our ancestral inborn body timing system. This conflict may also mark many aspects of our current lifestyle, involving shift work, rapid time zone crossing, and even prolonged office work in closed buildings. Misalignments between external and internal rhythms, in the short term, traduce into risk of mental and physical performance shortfalls, mood changes, quarrels, drug and alcohol abuse, failure to accomplish with the mission and, finally, high rates of fatal accidents. Relations of melatonin with energy metabolism being altered under a condition of hypoxia focused our attention on interactions of the indoleamine with redox state, as well as, with autonomic regulations. Individual tolerance/susceptibility to such interactions may hint at adequately dealing with body timing disorders under extreme conditions.
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