Human Circadian Rhythms

인체의 일주기리듬

  • Lee, Hyunah (Department of Psychiatry, Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Cho, Chul-Hyun (Department of Psychiatry, Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Kim, Leen (Department of Psychiatry, Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine)
  • 이현아 (고려대학교 의과대학 안암병원 정신건강의학교실) ;
  • 조철현 (고려대학교 의과대학 안암병원 정신건강의학교실) ;
  • 김린 (고려대학교 의과대학 안암병원 정신건강의학교실)
  • Received : 2014.12.03
  • Accepted : 2014.12.15
  • Published : 2014.12.31


A 'circadian rhythm' is a self-sustained biological rhythm (cycle) that repeats itself approximately every 24 hours. Circadian rhythms are generated by an internal clock, or pacemaker, and persist even in the absence of environmental time cues, collectively termed 'zeitgebers.' Although organisms generate circadian rhythms internally, they are entrained by environmental stimuli, particularly the light-dark cycle. Measurement of the endogenous melatonin rhythm provides relatively reliable surrogate way of assessing the timing of the internal circadian clock. Also, core body temperature and cortisol can be used as markers of circadian rhythms. The sleep-wake cycle, body temperature, and melatonin rhythm have a stable internal phase relationship in humans and other diurnal species. They play an important role in controlling daily behavioral rhythms including task performance, blood pressure, and synthesis and secretion of several hormones. In this review, we address not only the properties, methods of measurement, and markers of circadian rhythms, but also the physiological and psychological importance of human circadian rhythms.


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