What is the name of the daily cycle?


Quick Answer

The biological process or daily cycle that keeps most organisms functioning on a 24-hour schedule is called a circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are most closely studied in humans, but they also occur in nonhuman organisms, including fungi, plants and even bacteria.

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Full Answer

Circadian rhythms are characterized by three main aspects: They last approximately 24 hours without external input, or endogenously; they can be reset, such as when traveling across time zones; and they compensate for changing temperatures without altering the 24-hour cycle. These three characteristics allow organisms to rely on circadian rhythms for regulating sleeping and eating patterns that are essential to survival.

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