Copyright

What is Circadian Rhythm? - Definition & Explanation

What is Circadian Rhythm? - Definition & Explanation
Coming up next: What is Nitric Oxide? - Foods, Benefits & Side Effects

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Your Inner Clock
  • 1:43 Interruptions to Your…
  • 2:39 Consequences of…
  • 3:16 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Collins
Learn about your circadian rhythm, which is your body's own internal clock that tells you when to wake and when to sleep. Learn about what it manages and what can influence it.

Your Inner Clock

You've just won your favorite game show and the host is about to hand you a large bag overflowing with money. Finally, you will be able to replace that rusted-out thing on wheels and take off to Hawaii! You reach out for the prize and BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP - it's your alarm! You awake from your dream, only to realize that you have already hit snooze several times, and now it's really time to get going. Goodbye, Hawaii. The alarm clock: a necessary evil. After all, we have to have alarm clocks or we would sleep forever, right? No, of course not. Anyone who has been able to go the weekend without setting an alarm knows that you eventually wake up unaided. Why is this?

Your body has an internal system to help it move from wakefulness to sleep and back to wakefulness. It's your own biological clock called your circadian rhythm. Coming from two Latin words: circa, meaning 'approximately' and dies, meaning 'day,' this clock regulates your sleeping pattern over the course of a 24-hour day. The circadian rhythm is mostly comprised of a group of cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is located in the hypothalamus.

It turns out that we all have a built in 24-hour day inside of you. Around 9:00pm, the body starts secreting meletonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. The body stops secreting this hormone at around 7:30am as your body prepares to wake. After 7:30am, levels of hormones, such as testosterone, rise to help you become alert and active. If you could allow this rhythm to fully dictate your sleep and wakefulness, you would be well rested throughout your day.

Interruptions to Your Circadian Rhythm

Circadian rhythms run on auto without any direction from you. However, there are things that can interrupt your rhythm, such as your desire to catch the 1:00 am performance of your favorite band, being awoken by your neighbor's annoying barking dog, or having to get up early for work.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support