Circadian rhythm disorders, also known as sleep-wake disorders, are disruptions in your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This internal clock, called the circadian rhythm, regulates when you feel sleepy and when you feel awake. When this rhythm gets disrupted, it can lead to sleep problems and daytime fatigue.

Frequently asked questions

What types of circadian rhythm disorders are there?

Here are a few types of circadian rhythm disorders:

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder: People with this disorder have a hard time falling asleep at a “normal” bedtime. They often stay up much later and find it difficult to wake up early in the morning.

Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder: This is the opposite of delayed sleep phase disorder. People with advanced sleep phase disorder tend to fall asleep very early in the evening and wake up very early in the morning.

Irregular Sleep-Wake Disorder: People with this disorder have no fixed sleep pattern. They take naps throughout the day and night, leading to fragmented sleep.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder: This occurs when your work schedule requires you to be awake when your body naturally wants to sleep. This is common among people who work night shifts or rotating shifts.

Jet Lag Disorder: This happens when you quickly travel across time zones, disrupting your circadian rhythm. It can lead to difficulty sleeping at the new destination’s local nighttime.

What are the treatment options for circadian rhythm disorders?

Treatment for circadian rhythm disorders involves adjusting your sleep schedule and lifestyle habits. This can include exposure to bright light during specific times, avoiding light during certain periods, and managing your sleep environment. In some cases, melatonin supplements might be recommended to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

What should I do if I am suffering from circadian rhythm disorder?

If you’re struggling with sleep-wake problems due to a circadian rhythm disorder, consulting a healthcare professional can be helpful. They can provide guidance on how to reset your internal clock and improve your sleep quality.