Sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being, but it can be challenging for some. Many people struggle to get enough sleep or feel awake and alert during the day. One reason for these difficulties can be disruptions to the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a group of conditions in which a person’s internal clock is out of sync with the external environment, leading to problems with falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up at the right times. These disorders can affect anyone, but they are particularly common among people who work irregular or overnight shifts and those who frequently travel across time zones.

These disorders can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and lead to a range of health problems if left untreated. In this article, we will explore the different types of circadian rhythm sleep disorders and the various treatment options that are available.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

There are many types of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, each with its own unique set of symptoms and causes. Here are some of the most common types of circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPS)

DSPS is a disorder in which a person’s internal clock is delayed, causing them to have trouble falling asleep at a reasonable time and waking up early in the morning. As a result, people with DSPS often find it difficult to wake up for school or work in the morning, and they may feel more alert and energetic in the evening.

Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPS)

ASPS is a disorder in which a person’s internal clock is advanced, causing them to feel sleepy and ready for bed earlier than most people. People with ASPS may have trouble staying awake in the evening, but they may also wake up early in the morning and have difficulty getting back to sleep.

Jet Lag

Jet lag happens when your body’s internal clock is disrupted traveling to a destination two or more time zones away from your home. The disruption to the sleep-wake cycle makes it hard to adjust and function in the new time zone.

Shift Work Disorder

Shift work disorder is when a person’s internal clock is disrupted by working non-traditional hours, such as overnight shifts. People with this disorder may have trouble sleeping during the day and staying awake at night, and they may experience symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Irregular Sleep-Wake Rhythm

An irregular sleep-wake rhythm is a disorder where the sleep-wake cycle is undefined. One may take many naps throughout the day. It’s most commonly seen in people with neurological conditions like dementia, people with brain injuries, and children with intellectual disabilities.

Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome

Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder is when a person’s internal clock is not synchronized with the 24-hour day. People with this disorder may experience a gradual shift in their sleep-wake cycle, causing them to have trouble falling asleep and waking up at the same time each day.

Treatments for Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

There are several treatment options available for circadian rhythm sleep disorders, some of which may include the following:

  • Light therapy involves exposure to bright light in the morning or evening to help reset the internal clock.
  • Melatonin supplements can also be used to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Behavioral therapy involves changing your sleep habits and environment, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.

In addition to these treatments, you can also take several practical steps to improve your sleep and manage your circadian rhythm sleep disorder. These include:

  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
  • Creating a dark and quiet sleep environment
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.

Get Back to Sleep With DreamZz Sleep Center

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, causing them to feel tired and unproductive during the day and unable to sleep at night. However, with the proper diagnosis and treatment, managing these disorders and improving your sleep and overall well-being is possible. If you suspect that you may have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, it is essential to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

At DreamZz Sleep Center, we want to help you get the sleep you need and deserve. The Dream Team can get you a consultation and sleep study within one to two weeks of your initial call, meaning you can start sleeping better in less than a month. Our fellowship-trained, Sleep Medicine board-certified physician will review your symptoms and devise a treatment plan to help you get back to sleep.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.