What Is the Circadian Rhythm?

2. Criteria

A circadian rhythm must meet three general criteria. The first one would be being an entrainable rhythm. This means that the rhythm can be reset through exposure to external cues such as temperature and light. This process is known as entrainment. For example, travelling across different time zones and adapting to the local time despite jet lag. The second criteria is an endogenous free-running period that is about 24 hours. This means that the rhythm should persist in constant conditions such as constant darkness. This means that the rhythm persists and is not simply a response to external cues. Last but not least, the rhythm exhibits temperature compensation where the rhythm is maintained over a range of physiological temperatures. The circadian clock is maintained despite changing kinetics.

What Is the Circadian Rhythm?

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