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Light Resetting and Entrainment of Human Circadian Rhythms

  • Joshua J. Gooley
Chapter

Abstract

Light is the most important synchronizer of human circadian rhythms. In this chapter, we review the resetting effects of light on the human circadian system. First, we describe the importance of circadian entrainment and how the circadian system is organized to fulfill this purpose. Then, we discuss factors that influence the magnitude of circadian light responses, including the circadian phase of light exposure and characteristics of the light stimulus such as intensity, duration, and wavelength. Finally, we review the effects of electrical lighting and sunlight on the timing of circadian rhythms in laboratory studies and under real-world conditions. The main summary points of the chapter are:
  1. 1.

    Exposure to light in the early biological night induces a phase delay shift of human circadian rhythms, whereas exposure to light in the late biological night induces a phase advance shift.

     
  2. 2.

    Circadian responses to light can be enhanced by increasing the intensity or duration of the light stimulus, using short-wavelength light, or exposing oneself to dim light prior to the resetting stimulus.

     
  3. 3.

    The phase-resetting effects of light on circadian rhythms are greatest near the early part of a continuous light stimulus, as compared to the later part.

     
  4. 4.

    The human circadian system can be reset and entrained by exposure to electrical lighting including ordinary room light.

     
  5. 5.

    The circadian timing of sleep and other rhythms is modulated by exposure to electrical lighting and natural lighting under real-word conditions.

     

Keywords

Circadian Clock Light Stimulus Circadian System Phase Response Curve Circadian Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Disclosure Statement

The author has no conflicts of interest to report.

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Suggested Readings

  1. Dacey DM, Liao HW, Peterson BB, Robinson FR, Smith VC, Pokorny J, Yau KW, Gamlin PD (2005) Melanopsin-expressing ganglion cells in primate retina signal colour and irradiance and project to the LGN. Nature 433:749–754CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Gooley JJ, Rajaratnam SM, Brainard GC, Kronauer RE, Czeisler CA, Lockley SW (2010) Spectral responses of the human circadian system depend on the irradiance and duration of exposure to light. Sci Transl Med 2:31ra33CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Khalsa SBS, Jewett ME, Cajochen C, Czeisler CA (2003) A phase response curve to single bright light pulses in human subjects. J Physiol 549:945–952CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Revell VL, Burgess HJ, Gazda CJ, Smith MR, Fogg LF, Eastman CI (2006) Advancing human circadian rhythms with afternoon melatonin and morning intermittent bright light. J Clin Endocrinol Metabol 91:54–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Roenneberg T, Kumar CJ, Merrow M (2007) The human circadian clock entrains to sun time. Curr Biol 17:R44–R45CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Wright KP, Gronfier C, Duffy JF, Czeisler CA (2005) Intrinsic period and light intensity determine the phase relationship between melatonin and sleep in humans. J Biol Rhythms 20:168–177CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Wright KP, McHill AW, Birks BR, Griffin BR, Rusterholz T, Chinoy ED (2013) Entrainment of the human circadian clock to the natural light-dark cycle. Curr Biol 23:1554–1558CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Zeitzer JM, Dijk DJ, Kronauer RE, Brown EN, Czeisler CA (2000) Sensitivity of the human circadian pacemaker to nocturnal light: melatonin phase resetting and suppression. J Physiol 526:695–702CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer (India) Pvt. Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Program in Neuroscience and Behavioral DisordersDuke-NUS Medical SchoolSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.School of Psychological SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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