Introduction. Circadian Or Diurnal Rhythms Are Metabolic

1646 WordsMar 30, 20177 Pages
Introduction Circadian or diurnal rhythms are metabolic or behavioural rhythms, in animals and plants, that occur usually within a 24-hour cycle (Abercrombie et al. 1990). The changes in body temperature over the course of a day (24 hours), or in the case of females, over a month, is one of the most documented human circadian rhythms. Body temperature as well as circadian rhythms in humans is controlled by the hypothalamus, a small region of the brain that forms part of the autonomic nervous system. The hypothalamus synthesizes neurohormones, which are used to control the secretions of other hormones by the pituitary gland, which is linked to the hypothalamus. It is well known that long distance flights have many effects on the…show more content…
In fact it is the hormone, melatonin which is released by the pineal gland that is responsible for controlling the sleep cycle (Society for Endocrinology, 2015). Melatonin production increases as it becomes dark and is supressed to a degree by light. Melatonin causes drowsiness by lowering the core body temperature. It has been found that the hormone is also released when one is stressed which can occur while in flight. The body reacts to the untimely release of melatonin and disrupts the circadian rhythm, which raises the body temperature and lowers it at the wrong time of day. It naturally will take time for the bodies internal ‘clock’ to readjust to a normal rhythm, and, if travelling to a different time zone, the body has to adjust to a different day-night cycle. Aims The main aim of this study and experiment is to see if all long haul flights, irrespective of direction, result in a degree of jet lag as reflected by one of the affected circadian rhythms, namely body temperature. The study aims to determine whether the hypothesis is correct. An additional aim is to see if average body temperature is lowered during the flight and fluctuates less than in a normal 24 hour cycle. Should there be enough suitable participants, another aim is to see whether people over the age of 30 take longer to return to their normal body temperature circadian rhythm than those under the age of 30. Research Hypothesis It takes between 36 and 48 hours to return to a

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