Circadian rhythm disorder can cause the possibility of difficulty falling asleep, awakening during sleep, or waking too early and being unable to go back to sleep.
Treatment choices include lighting therapy, medications, and behavioural therapy. Treatment options are based on the severity of the disorder and how it impacts your quality of life.
What Are The Causes Of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders?
Circadian insomnia is a variety of sleep disorders that share the same feature: an interruption in sleep rhythm. Circadian in Latin is "around or approximately" (circa) "a day" (Diem).
The circadian cycle is the title you use to describe the human body's 24/7 "internal clock." This internal clock regulates your body's sleep and wake cycles..
Aiding in "set your internal clock" on a 24-hour day is the visual clue of light. Specifically, the brightness of the light and its type and the amount of time it has been exposed to light, and the time it was exposed to sunlight.
Light is transferred through your eyes to your brain's specific "control centre." Other factors can affect your body's internal clock, however, such as the hormone melatonin (a hormone produced by your brain that plays an essential role in sleeping), physical activity, and social behaviour.
The age of your body can influence your sensitivities to the cycle of sleep and wake.
Circadian disorders of sleep are one of the following issues:
- You are having a hard time getting to sleep.
- It isn't easy to sleep, and they are often awakened several times throughout the night.
- You wake up early and are unable to go to sleep.
What Are The Most Common Kinds Of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders?
The most frequent types of sleep disorders affecting the circadian rhythm comprise:
If you suffer from this sleep disorder that causes you to go to bed and wake up at least two hours longer than what is thought to be a regular cycle of sleep and wake.
For instance, you're a "night owl" who may not be able to fall asleep at 2am (or later) but stay up at least 3 p.m.
Other characteristics of sleep disorder with delayed phase include:
- You're usually the most productive, alert, and creative at night.
- If you have to get up early, you will be exhausted throughout the day.
- People often think you're inactive, unmotivated, or a weak performer who always arrives tardy to meet your morning obligations.
- It is most often observed in young adults.
- May run in families.
Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder
If you are suffering from this sleep disorder, when you go to sleep at night (6 p.m. until nine p.m.), you wake up at dawn (2 a.m. until 5.30 a.m.).
Other characteristics that are characteristic of an advanced sleep disorder include:
- Most people complain about the early morning wake-up call or insomnia and then fall asleep in the afternoon or the early evening.
- It is most often observed in middle age and elderly adults.
- May run in families.
If you are suffering from this sleep condition, your body's internal clock is disrupted by a long travel time to a place that is more than two time zones away from your home.
This disruption of the sleep-wake cycles can make it challenging to adapt and function within your new time zone. Travelling to the east is more complex than westward travel, as it is simpler to sleep later than advanced sleep.
Common symptoms of jet lag include:
- A change in the appetite.
- Changes in the gastrointestinal (stomach as well as bowel) function.
- General tiredness.
- The feeling of general unease or discomfort and mood changes.
It is possible to have an insomnia disorder when frequently working in shifts and working late at night.
These work schedules conflict with your body's circadian rhythm, making it difficult to adapt to the change. A shift-related disorder can be identified through a consistent or repeating pattern of interrupted sleep which can cause insomnia or excessive sleepiness.
Other typical features of shift work disorder include:
- Ongoing tiredness.
- The feeling of general anxiety or unease and mood disorders.
- Gastrointestinal problems.
- Reduced sex drive.
Other health risks are increased chance of drinking alcohol and other drugs and weight increase, high blood pressure, heart disease, endometrial and breast cancer. The sleep disorder is most often seen in those who work night shifts or earlier morning shifts.
Irregular Sleeping-Wake Rhythm
It is a sleep disorder described as an undetermined sleep-wake cycle. It is possible to take multiple napping sessions over 24 hours. It is characterised by ongoing (chronic) insomnia and excessive sleepiness.
This condition is typically found in those suffering from neurological diseases like dementia and nursing homes, kids with intellectual disabilities, and people who have suffered traumatic injuries to the brain.
A Sleep-Wake Syndrome That Is Not 24 Hours Long
If you suffer from the sleep-related disorder described above, you will keep the same amount of sleep and wake time.
However, your "internal clock" is longer than 24 hours. If this is the case, the cycle of sleep and wake is different every day, with your time being delayed by one or two hours every day. This condition is most often seen in blind individuals.
What Are The Causes Of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Problems?
Circadian sleep disorders can be caused by periodic or continuous disruptions of sleep patterns.
The reason for the interruption is either an error in or malfunction in your "internal body clock" or inconsistency to the "internal body clock" and the external surroundings (for instance, social or work demands), which can affect the duration and timing of your sleep.
The circadian imbalance causes issues functioning at school, at work, and in social events.
The situations that cause a circadian rhythm sleep disorder are:
- Frequent changes in a work shift.
- Jet lag.
- There are frequent changes in the time it takes to sleep and get up.
- Brain damage is caused by medical ailments like stroke or dementia, brain injury, and intellectual impairments.
- Blindness or inability to expose to sunlight over long durations of time.
- Certain drugs.
- Unhealthy quality of sleep (lack of routines or habits) and other factors that contribute to high-quality sleep).
- Ageing in the older years.
What Are The Signs Of Sleep Disorders That Affect The Circadian Rhythm?
Signs and symptoms of sleep disorders that affect the circadian rhythm are:
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping or remaining asleep).
- Excessive daytime sleepiness.
- A difficult time is waking up in the early morning.
- Sleep loss.
- Relationship stress.
- Poor work/school performance.
- Inability to fulfil social obligations.
Classification Of Sleep Disorders
Your doctor will rule out other medical and sleep conditions, such as:
Which often resembles a delayed sleep-related disorder. Sleep diaries are typically used in conjunction with a wristwatch-like instrument (called Actigraph) which tracks the wake and sleep phases throughout the days and weeks.
Sometimes, both daytime and overnight studies on sleep might be necessary. Studies on sleep are designed to examine the sleeping patterns of each person.
For instance, an "overnight sleep study could be conducted in the daytime in the case of a shift worker. Monitoring body temperature and the level of melatonin can be actual tests.
Treatment choices are:
Behaviour Therapy And Lifestyle
This approach encourages adjustments to improve sleep and establish good sleeping habits.
Good sleeping habits include keeping regular wake-to-sleep times (even on vacations and weekends) and avoiding naps (except for shift workers), as well as establishing an exercise routine that is regularly scheduled (avoid intense exercise within an hour before the time of bed) and staying clear of smoking, alcohol or nicotine as well as stimulants within a few hours before going to bed.
Light Therapy With Bright Light
Bright Light therapy can be used to speed up or deter sleep. The timing of this therapy is vital and requires guidance from a sleep doctor.
Bright light therapy is a method of resetting your circadian rhythm to become in sync with Earth's cycle of darkness and light. Light with high intensity (2,000 or 9,500 to 10,000 lux) is required. The time and duration of the exposure vary between one and two hours.
Bright light exposure early in the day can assist you with delayed sleep disorders. It is also recommended to reduce the light exposure you have at night and throughout the evening by decreasing the amount of light in your home and avoiding bright TV and computer screens. Exposure to bright light during the evening can assist if you suffer from an advanced sleep disorder.
Medications such as melatonin (available over-the-counter) or other wake-promoting substances (such as modafinil [Provigil(r)[Provigil(r)]) as well as caffeine as well as short-term sleep aids could be utilised to alter and keep the cycle of sleep-wake according to the preferred timetable.
Tasimelteon (Hetlioz(r)) is approved to treat the non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder.
This method of treatment uses the gradual increase or delay (three minutes every day) of the time spent sleeping, based on the kind and degree of the condition.
This kind of therapy requires the commitment of both the patient and their partner since it could take weeks to alter the cycle of sleep and waking completely.
When the desired schedule has been established, it is essential to adhere to this regular sleep-wake pattern.
Now that you know all about circadian rhythm disorder, let’s take a look at a few frequently asked questions.
Is Circadian Rhythm Disorder Genetic?
Yes, genetic factors may affect circadian rhythms, and hence some people may have more side effects of sleep loss than others. Circadian insomnia disorders result from periodic or intermittent disruptions of sleep patterns.
How Are Insomnia Disorders That Disrupt The Circadian Rhythm Of Sleep Treated?
Treatment options for sleep disorders differ depending on the nature of the disease and the extent to which it impacts your daily life.
Your doctor will create an individual treatment plan which increases your chances of getting the treatment you need. The majority of treatments call for a mix of strategies.
What Are The Criteria For Sleep Disorders Identified?
Identifying sleep disorders that disrupt the circadian rhythm can be complex and frequently require a sleep expert's consultation.
Your doctor will collect information regarding your sleep patterns and work schedule and request that you keep an account of your sleep for one or two weeks.
All in all, circadian rhythm disorder is a very common sleep disorder in adults and could be a result of several ongoing sleep problems. Where there’s much scientific evidence to prove whether the disease is hereditary, it can be worsened due to disorders like insomnia.
Therefore, before you reach a point where the only way out is treatment, we suggest you cure your ongoing sleep problems in the initial stages, because precautions are always better than treatment.
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