We know that the physiological and natural activities of our body usually occur and organize through periods of time that have determined as a biological clock.

They unfold, producing a rhythmic phenomenon that are considered biological rhythms. In addition, they determine our needs and allow us to create habits and regulate them.

In the following article we will then seek to explain what biological rhythms are, the characteristics that conceive them and the types.

What are biological rhythms?

Biological rhythms are cyclesthat correspond to daily changes in our body, governed through response with elements such as light, temperature, time, and agents that intervene throughout a day.

Note: They develop even before birth, although they present a maturation and progressive adaptation through growth.

They are studied throughchronobiology, this being a science that studies biological rhythms and their organization due to the growing interest over time of their temporal functions and the influence they can have onthe behavior of the individual(1)

Characteristics of biological rhythms

Biological rhythmshave certain characteristics, which allow their understanding and proper functioning, so they will be mentioned and described below facilitating their identification and understanding.

Determine the activities of the organism

Biological rhythms are those that through their chronologyinfluence sleep cycles, eating habits, digestion, hormonal secretion, body temperatureand many other functions.

Important: Its alteration is precisely what can producechronic conditionsthroughaltered or denormalized rhythms.

They constitute cyclical variations

They are processes that develop over 24 hours , which is why they produce cyclical and rhythmic constructions that help determine, create, or promote patterns.

Variations occur with external elements , which produce irregularities and there is no regulation on the control of the environment and the alterations it produces.

They establish a link between habits and time

The creation of a habit in the field of biological rhythms, becomes at the same time a fundamental and key element , because it is the one that determines the pronunciation of needs and the requirement of its completeness.

Note: A fairly clear example of the close relationship between habits and time would be: sleep, hunger, digestionetc.

They are regulated by the nervous and endocrine systems.

The Endocrine System with its glands and the Nervous System with its genetic material and neural cells use chemical language through molecules such as enzymes to function as communication mediators and carry out processes and functions.

Important: The accuracy and nature of what has been called the biological clock is unknown, but an intrinsic relationship is established with brain activity and its functional nuclei that are involved in activities such as sleep, hunger, behavior, performance, and even activity and sexual appetite. (two)

They depend on the internal clock and external factors

That internal clock or biological clockis the one that, as we have mentioned before, intervenes in the order of activities that focus on biological rhythms. In addition to this, they arealtered or influenced by external factors that allow them to be revoked or induced.

Types of biological rhythms

Biological rhythms have a classification that allows breaking down all those important activities that are essential in our body.

For this reason, they will be mentioned and described below in search of their understanding and identification.


Circadian rhythms (from the Latin circa , which means “around” ), are the main ones, made up of the biological clock and the synchronization of the organismfor the provision of information from external agents to our body. They focus onlight information that expresses different responses as a factor. (3)

Important: The understanding of this type of biological rhythms, allows the conduction of treatments that are necessary in patients with alterations in sleep periods, jet lag, obesity and others.


The infradian rhythms are those that the period of time is greater than 24 hours and the external agents capable of influencing them are classified into Geophysical Groups , which means that they belong to the frequency of processes such as respiratory, cardiac, and brain activity.


Ultradian rhythmsArethose whose period of duration is less than the duration of the day , they are linked to processes of motor and eating behaviorstag. They also allow the assessment of high and low productivity peaks.

They allow with their recognition and understanding, the determination of their virtues and the use of them to improve concentration , productivity and recognize when moments of rest are necessary.


Circaseptimal or cercaseptal cycles owe their name to the duration of periods of seven days , allowing order through the biological clock and serving as an example of social habits where they are synchronized with biological rhythms and needs.


They are the ones that develop over the course of a month , so they are monthly rhythmstag. They have a variation of five days and with rhythms that are evoked to be a referenceto the women’s menstrual cycle, as well as Menopausal processes .


They correspond to a duration of one year , they are also known as circannual and seasonal.

The variables that influence are those of reproduction, metabolism and migration in the case of animal species, allowing to be influenced by variations of external agents and the incidence of some pathologies at certain specific times of the year.

Thanks to this type of rhythm, it is the one that has the greatest influence on physiological variables and can be altered by constant factors such as temperature and light .

Key Findings

  • Biological rhythms determine and enable usual processes in our body.
  • They are affected by external and internal agents that produce alterations and variations of different severity.
  • The biological clock is an essential element but of a still unknown nature.
  • Its origin is not recognized nor is there a specific explanation, but its use and exploitation can be appreciated.
  • Thanks to the known and internally standardized biological rhythms we can allow ourselves as individuals to improve our productivity and concentration.

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