Smoothing splines are a popular approach for non-parametric regression problems. We use periodic smoothing splines to fit a periodic signal plus noise model to data for which we assume there are underlying circadian patterns. In the smoothing spline methodology, choosing an appropriate smoothness parameter is an important step in practice. In this paper, we draw a connection between smoothing splines and REACT estimators that provides motivation for the creation of criteria for choosing the smoothness parameter. The new criteria are compared to three existing methods, namely cross-validation, generalized cross-validation, and generalization of maximum likelihood criteria, by a Monte Carlo simulation and by an application to the study of circadian patterns. For most of the situations presented in the simulations, including the practical example, the new criteria out-perform the three existing criteria.