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Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder


Circadian Rhythms are also called the body clock. It includes the changes which a body experiences in the physiological and behavioral aspects in the rough cycles of 24 hours. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders (CRSDs) or simply Circadian Sleep Disorders includes the disorders wherein, there is a change in this patter of 24 hours. These are the situations where there are abnormalities in length, timing, and/or rigidity of the sleep-wake cycle as compared to the current day-night cycle. Some typical examples are Jet Lag, Shift work issues, etc.

There are close to five types of CRSDs - The first four are chronic, which has neurological causes and last one is temporary caused by social and environmental causes.

  1. Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)
  2. Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24)
  3. Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS or ASPD)
  4. Irregular Sleep-Wake Disorder (ISWD)
  5. Shift Work Disorder

Some examples of CRSD

Jet Lag is most common sleep disorder of Circadian Rhythm often experienced by cross time zone travellers. It results from a change in internal pattern of sleep and wakefulness and day and night of new time zone. People find it hard to manage and function in the new time zone. Eastward travel is tough to cope as compared to westward travel since it is tougher to advance sleep than to delay sleep.

Similarly people who work in Shifts often experience the Shift Work Disorder. Work schedules conflicts with the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle and people find it difficult to adjust with constant changes. It can impact people in many ways few of which are insomnia symptoms or excessive sleepy feeling.

There is a need to maintain the sleep diary in order for the sleep expert to diagnose the issue correctly. There is a need to keep the data of sleep/wake period for about 1-2 weeks in order to identify the issue faced. The diary should also capture the events happened in daily routine like travel, important work related schedules, etc.

Treatment Options for CRSD

The type of disorder and the suffering extent defines the treatment option which can help in cure. Customizing the treatment for the individual increases the chances of early revival of the symptoms. Behavior Therapy is one of the most commonly recommended treatment options along with providing lifestyle related changes for proper sleep pattern.

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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