By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
Biological cycles ranging from minutes to years occur throughout the animal kingdom. Cycles involve hibernation, mating behavior, body temperature and many other physiological processes.
Rhythms or cycles that show cyclic changes on a daily (or even a few hours) basis are known as circadian rhythms. Many hormones, such as ACTH-cortisol, TSH, and GH show circadian rhythms. The menstrual cycle is controlled by a number of hormones secreted in a cyclical fashion. Thyroid secretion is usually higher in winter than in summer.
Childbirth is hormonally controlled, and is highest between 2 and 7 AM. Internal cycles of hormone production are controlled by the hypothalamus, specifically the suprachiasmic nucleus (SCN). According to one model, the SCN is signaled by messages from the light-detecting retina of the eyes.The SCN signals the pineal gland in the brain to signal the hypothalamus, etc.