Circadian Rhythms: A Very Short Introduction [#517]
Circadian Rhythms: A Very Short Introduction [#517]

Circadian Rhythms: A Very Short Introduction [#517]

Russell Foster; Leon Kreitzman


  • Offers a comprehensive description of the science behind circadian rhythms
  • Describes how biological clocks enable animals to anticipate the regular daily changes in the external environment and synchronise their activities so as to maximise their chances of survival and reproduction
  • Describes how our own behaviour is regulated by our biological clocks over a 24 hour period

The earth's daily rotation affects just about every living creature. From dawn through to dusk, there are changes in light, temperature, humidity, and rainfall. However, these changes are regular, rhythmic and, therefore, predictable. Thus, the near 24 hour circadian rhythm is innate: a genetically programmed clock that essentially ticks of its own accord. 

This Very Short Introduction explains how organisms can "know" the time and reveals what we now understand of the nature and operation of chronobiological processes. Covering variables such as light, the metabolism, human health, and the seasons, Foster and Kreitzman illustrate how jet lag and shift work can impact on human well-being, and consider circadian rhythms alongside a wide range of disorders, from schizophrenia to obesity.


1: Introduction
2: How the clock works
3: Light and the clock
4: Synchronising the clock
5: Day/night cycle
6: Clocks and metabolism
7: Clocks and human health
8: The seasonal clock
9: Where did the clocks come from
Further reading


Russell Foster, Head of Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology; Director of Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute; and Fellow of Brasenose College, University of Oxford, and Leon Kreitzman, Visitor, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford
Russell Foster is Professor of Circadian Neuroscience and the Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Oxford University. His research spans basic and applied circadian and photoreceptor biology. For his discovery of non-rod, non-cone ocular photoreceptors he has been awarded the Honma prize (Japan), Cogan award (USA), and Zoological Society Scientific & Edride-Green Medals (UK). He has also written several books, such asRhythms of Life , co-authored with Leon Kreitzman (Profile Books, 2004) and Sleep: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Leon Kreitzman is an esteemed author, biologist and broadcaster who is currently a visiting consultant at the Nuffield Health Centre at Oxford University. He has written numerous articles and books on the social and scientific factors of chronobiology, includingThe 24 Hour Society (Profile Books, 1999).

"Circadian Rhythms is an ideal companion to Sleep, another excellent book in the same series and co-authored by Foster ... Foster and Kreitzman delve into the molecular biology that underlies the circadian rhythms, but they do so clearly and gradually. So even if you're not a biologist you'll be able to follow the discussions." - Mark Greener, Fortean Times

"excellent" - David Lorimer, Network Review


ISBN : 9780198717683

Russell Foster; Leon Kreitzman
168 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





Circadian Rhythms: A Very Short Introduction [#517]

Circadian Rhythms: A Very Short Introduction [#517]

Circadian Rhythms: A Very Short Introduction [#517]