Chronobiology of sleep in humans.

Research paper by L C LC Lack, H R HR Wright

Indexed on: 17 Mar '07Published on: 17 Mar '07Published in: Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences


Periodic circadian (24-h) cycles play an important role in daily hormonal and behavioural rhythms. Usually our sleep/wake cycle, temperature and melatonin rhythms are internally synchronized with a stable phase relationship. When there is a desynchrony between the sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythm, sleep disorders such as advanced and delayed sleep phase syndrome can arise as well as transient chronobiologic disturbances, for example from jet lag and shift work. Appropriately timed bright light is effective in re-timing the circadian rhythm and sleep pattern to a more desired time, ameliorating these disturbances. Other less potent retiming effects may also be obtained from the judicious use of melatonin and exercise.