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Discuss the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms

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Discuss the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms. Shift work and shift lag are the results of disturbing biological rhythms. Night workers are required to be alert at night and sleep during the day, which is the reverse of our natural rhythms and out of line with most of the cues for zeitgebers. Other consequences include jet lag which results in phase advance and phase delay. During shift work, research studies have found that there is a decreased alertness and night workers often experience a circadian 'trough' of decreased alertness during their shifts (Boivin et al., 1996).This occurs between midnight, when cortisol levels are lowest and around 4.00am when core body temperature is lowest. However there are other reasons why people experience the circadian 'trough', such are as social disruption as well to their biological ...read more.


outside and daylight induces sleep quality as our exogenous zietgebers will try to entrain our circadian rhythm to sleep when its dark. However there is a to 'cure' to the effects of shift work. Melatonin is a natural hormone that induces sleep Herxheimer and Petrie (2001) reviewed 10 studies and found that where melatonin has been taken near to sleep , it has been remarkably effective, however if it was taken at the wrong time of day it may actually delay sleep adaption's. This study is has real world validity as it could be a 'cure' for people that find it hard to get to sleep of a night but also people that have shift lag or jet lag. ...read more.


However jet lag can be affected by many other individual factors which need to be taken into account such as worrying before travel so not sleeping well, travel itself is tiring, and many people's holidays involve long out travelling, drinking alcohol and coffee (which both have negative effects on sleeping). Also when travelling there is constant noise, low oxygen cabin air and other annoying passengers. It is important in psychological research to take into account individual differences as every person is different failure to do so will lead the research to have validity problems. To conclude, the consequences of disturbing biological rhythms are an important factor to take into everyday life, especially for shift workers and people that travel a lot. People will always deal with the effects of disturbing biological rhythms differently. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay


This is a very basic essay about disruption to the bodily rhythms. In order to warrant a higher score, much more detail needs to be added.

The writer could, for example, explain in more detail the connection between sleep, light and dark and melatonin etc. They could also go into more detail about sleep deprivation and the stages of sleep.

The writer needs to start with a good introduction to the subject explaining what biological rhythms are. The writer could also explain why regular sleep during the night is so important. The main content could include details of the difficulties of shift work, jet lag and sleep disruption/deprivation. Finally a conclusion should weigh up the evidence presented.

If the writer takes on board the comments made then this should significantly improve the overall essay score.

Score 2*

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 08/10/2013

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