Circadian Rhythms

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the evolution and role of Circadian Rhythms, the so-called body clock that influences an organism's daily cycle of physical, behavioural and mental changes. The rhythms are generated within organisms and also in response to external stimuli, mainly light and darkness. They are found throughout the living world, from bacteria to plants, fungi to animals and, in humans, are noticed most clearly in sleep patterns.


Russell Foster
Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of Oxford

Debra Skene
Professor of Neuroendocrinology at the University of Surrey


Steve Jones
Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 17 Dec 2015 21:30

Related topics


Russell Foster at the University of Oxford

Debra Skene at the University of Surrey

Steve Jones at University College London

Circadian Rhythms Fact Sheet - National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Circadian Rhythms - Science Daily

Seasonal Affective Disorder - NHS

Plant Circadian Rhythms – American Society of Plant Biologists

Clocks, Migration and the Effects of Global Warming – Circadiana blog

Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute

‘Bigger, Brighter, Bluer-Better? Current light-emitting devices – adverse sleep properties and preventative strategies’ – Frontiers in Public Health

‘Regulation of mammalian neuroendocrine physiology and rhythms by melatonin’ – Journal of Endocrinology

‘Visual impairment and circadian rhythm disorders’ - Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience

‘Measuring and using light in the melanopsin age’ – Trends in Neurosciences

‘Sleep patterns in Amazon rubber tappers with and without electric light at home’ - Scientific Reports

Circadian Rhythms – Wikipedia



Russell G. Foster and Leon Kreitzman, Seasons of Life: The Biological Rhythms That Enable Living Things to Thrive and Survive (Profile Books, 2009)

Russell G. Foster and Leon Kreitzman, The Rhythms Of Life: The Biological Clocks That Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing (Profile Books, 2004)

Jim Horne, Sleepfaring: A Journey through the Science of Sleep (Oxford University Press, 2006) 

Penelope A. Lewis, The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Steven W. Lockley and Russell G. Foster, Sleep: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Paul Martin, Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams (First published 2002; Flamingo 2010)



Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestRussell Foster
Interviewed GuestDebra Skene
Interviewed GuestSteve Jones
ProducerSimon Tillotson

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