Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder

Sleeping Disorder

Definition

Circadian rhythm sleep disorder is a class of sleep disorders characterized by disturbances in the timing of sleep. It is directly linked to the functioning of the human body as sleep cycles may affect appetite, body weight, hormones, mental health, and energy levels. Patients are unable to sleep at times appropriate for typical work, school, or social needs and are unable to adjust according to regular waking hours. It is difficult for patients of these disorders to sleeping or staying awake at normal times. Some other sleep disorders are: Hypersomnia, Insomnia, Sleep Terror Disorder, Dyssomnia etc.

Sleep disturbances may affect overall health as all the human body functions are related to proper rest. If you are unable to take proper rest then you would not be able to perform well in any field of your life not even the trifle matters of daily routine. These may alter factors such as duration, time and frequency of sleep. Unlike other sleep disorders, Circadian Rhythm disorder does not affect the quality of sleep unless it is coupled with other disorders as well. Patients are able to sleep for a normal length of time if there are no other external disturbances.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sleeping during the day
  • Missing work during the day
  • Not getting sleep at a normal time
  • Difficulty falling back asleep after waking up at night
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Need to take sleeping pills
  • Not feeling refreshed after waking up

Causes and Risk Factors

There are several causes of developing circadian rhythm sleep disorder. If left unmanaged, it can lead to severe circumstances which would be difficult to treat. So it is better to immediately take action if you see any symptoms of this disorder. Some circadian rhythm disturbances are temporary, and mild, such as a jetlag or irregular night shifts. These may disturb the biological clock for a few days to a few weeks, and eventually the individual resumes to routine. Other causes of Circadian Rhythm Disorder are:

  • Mental disorders like dementia
  • Hormonal disorders like hyperthyroidism
  • Taking illicit or prescription stimulants like amphetamines
  • SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

Circadian rhythm sleep disorder can lead to further health risks like:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Mental trauma and disorders

Treatment

It is important to try and create a healthy atmosphere for sleeping at night. Have a dark bedroom kept at a comfortable temperature. Do not sit in front of the computer screen an hour before sleeping. Doctors may prescribe medications to help manage these disorders. These lifestyle changes can adjust biological clock.

In the case of a drug or alcohol addiction coupled with Circadian Rythm disorder, it is important to visit a rehabilitation center that can treat both cases as both can worsen the situation. Teams of physicians and therapists can work with individuals to improve sleeping patterns and treat the addiction simultaneously.

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