As a human being, there exist within you a variety of internal biological clocks that govern many processes in your body, including your circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms and the human being
“To sleep, perchance to dream,” was once uttered by Shakespeare’s indelible character Hamlet, during perhaps the most famous soliloquy in the English language. We need to sleep (and dream) for optimal health, and circadian rhythms are key to getting sleep on a regular basis.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describe circadian rhythms thus:
“Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. They respond primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. Sleeping at night and being awake during the day is an example of a light-related circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes. The study of circadian rhythms is called chronobiology.”
The biological “clocks” in your body are specific proteins with special purposes, and they can be found in most any tissue or organ. In essence, these proteins are the “clocks” that produce your circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms run on natural 24-hour cycles, and the circadian rhythm most of us think of would be the sleep-wake cycle, “a specific biological pattern of alternating sleep and wakefulness, in humans roughly eight hours of nocturnal sleep, and 16 hours of daytime activity.”
The Sleep Foundation encapsulates the sleep-wake cycle…