Circadian Rhythms Essay

Submitted By Lennox-Brown
Words: 492
Pages: 2

Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Deprivation The body is a magnificent structure operating on thousands of small to microscopic systems that provide proper: nutrition, energy, and responses that work as a unit to keep the host living. One of the most important of these functions is sleep, it is necessary to give these systems rest or they will start to malfunction. This lack of rest is medically labeled as “sleep deprivation”, a case in which the body is receiving the necessary rest it needs to function properly. Although the inner workings of the human body is very complicated, all the individual systems work on the same timeline called the Circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm directly relates to the schedule certain things like; light, food, and rest the body is accustomed to receiving. The primary location for this “master clock” is located in a group of cells in the hypothalamus and is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN. The SCN receives information about illumination through the eyes. The retina of the eye contains photoreceptors which are used for conventional vision. But the retina also contains specialized ganglion cells that are directly photosensitive, and project directly to the SCN, where they help in the entrainment (synchronization) of this master circadian clock. The master clock also sends feedback throughout the entire body to similar receptors called peripheral oscillators. These different receptors control major organs throughout the body like; the adrenal gland, esophagus, lungs, liver, pancreas, spleen, thymus, and skin. Needless to say that any disruption in the master circadian clock’s rhythm would lead to catastrophic failures in the aforementioned organs. On the exterior it wouldn’t be difficult to develop an unusual circadian rhythm given the circumstances the average person may face. For example things like shift work or substantial work hours could either constantly keep your rhythms irregular resulting in a biological clock that never knows the time. In other words some situations present in peoples…