Sleep as a Circadian Rhythm



A number of behaviors and physiological functions occur in rhythmic cycles of different durations. For example, biological rhythms include the long seasonal breeding rhythms and shorter estrous and monthly menstrual cycles, during which hormonal and reproductive activities occur. And, relevant to our topic at hand, there are a number of 24-hour cycles, one of which is an activity cycle that includes the sleep-waking rhythm. This daily rhythmic cycle is not precisely 24 hours; rather, its length is about (circa) a day (dies), hence the term “circadian rhythm.”


Circadian Rhythm Pineal Gland Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Breeding Cycle Pacemaker Cell 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2002

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