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Deciphering sleep disorders with circadian rhythm for all sleep deprivation

Deciphering sleep disorders with circadian rhythm for all sleep deprivation

  • November 1, 2021
Contributed by: Rachana Arya


In the current fast-track lifestyle, an increase in activities that are carried out around the clock and the general use of electronic devices nearly 24 hours a day has resulted in a deterioration in the sleep-wake cycle.

The circadian rhythm is the name for this natural sleep-wake rhythm. A circadian rhythm sleep problem occurs when this rhythm is not properly tuned to your surroundings and interferes with your daily activities. When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can affect many facets of your life.

In this blog we will discuss an overview, its clinical features, and diagnostic criteria of circadian sleep-wake rhythm disorders.

FAQ # 1: What are circadian rhythm disorders?

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a group of sleep disorders that occur when the inner sleep-wake rhythm (body clock) does not coincide with the outer light (day) -dark (night) cycle.

FAQ # 2: What is the cause of the circadian rhythm disorder?

Sleep disorders with a circadian rhythm arise when the inner sleep-wake rhythm and the light-dark rhythm are not synchronized with each other. The cause of this discrepancy can be a continuous or occasional interruption in the sleep pattern.

This can be internal (e.g. delayed or advanced sleep phase syndrome) or external (e.g. jet lag, shift work).

FAQ # 3: Who is at the greatest risk for circadian rhythm disturbances?

Sleep disorders can occur in patients with:

FAQ # 4: How does insomnia affect the circadian rhythm on daily health and wellbeing?

Sleep disorders caused by circadian rhythm sleep disorders can cause:

    • insomnia
    • Nausea
    • malaise
    • irritability
    • depression
    • Impaired performance, including decreased cognitive skills
    • Bad coordination
    • headache
    • stomach problems

FAQ # 5: Are Circadian Rhythm Disorders a Serious Problem?

Undiagnosed and untreated circadian arrhythmias can increase your risk for the following health conditions:

    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Metabolic disorders
    • obesity
    • Limited glucose tolerance
    • diabetes
    • Mental disorders
    • Anxiety and depression
    • Cancer progression
    • fatigue
    • Loss of concentration

It can also lead to work and traffic accidents.

FAQ # 6: Which hormone controls the circadian rhythm?

Melatonin is an important hormone in circadian synchronization. This hormone is involved in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm.

FAQ # 7: What is a good sleep-wake rhythm?

A good sleep-wake rhythm is characterized by the following:

    • A person can wake up in the morning when they need to do something
    • A person is able to fall asleep in time the night before to get enough sleep before getting up
    • A person can sleep and wake up at the same time each day if they so choose
    • A person can get used to new sleep and wake times within a few days of starting a new routine

FAQ # 8: What are the symptoms of circadian rhythm disturbances?

People with circadian rhythm sleep disorder cannot:

    • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
    • Sleep or wake up on time
    • Adaptation to sleep-wake reversals
    • Waking up during the sleep cycle
    • Drowsiness during the day
    • Difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly
    • Difficulty in normal activities
    • A general malaise
    • irritability
    • Nausea
    • depression

FAQ No. 9: What situations can trigger a circadian sleep disorder?

Situations that can trigger circadian sleep disorders can be internal or external.

Internal causes include the following:

    • Damage to the brain – from conditions such as a brain infection, stroke, head injury, or Alzheimer’s disease
    • Insensitivity to the cycle of day and night
    • Bad sleep hygiene

The external causes include the following:

    • Jet lag (when traveling over more than two time zones)
    • Work irregular shifts
    • Going to bed and getting up frequently at different times
    • Be bedridden for a long time
    • Blindness or not being exposed to sunlight for a long time
    • Taking certain medications
    • Hospitalization because the eyes are not exposed to sunlight long enough during the day

FAQ No. 10: How does the circadian mismatch disorder affect the quality of life?

People with this condition can abuse alcohol, sleeping pills, and stimulants to sleep or stay awake. The disorder causes problems at work, school, and the inability to meet social obligations.

FAQ # 11: How do you fix a circadian sleep disorder?

Diagnosing a circadian rhythm sleep disorder can be challenging. It is usually based on the symptoms and how much it affects the person’s quality of life.

Doctors generally collect information about sleep and work schedule history. Patients must also keep a sleep log and record their sleep and wake times over several weeks. The diagnosis is clinical. Treatment depends on the cause.

FAQ # 12: What is the treatment for circadian rhythm sleep disorders?

    • Wear sunglasses on the way home from work after your shift
    • Developing a good sleep etiquette
    • Use of sleep masks
    • Expose your eyes to bright light in the morning and at appropriate times to reset your internal clock
    • Gradually moving the sleep-wake schedule to the desired schedule well in advance of the travel time.
    • Avoid nap in the afternoon
    • Avoid high-intensity exercise within an hour before bedtime
    • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, nicotine etc. before going to bed

Final thoughts

Never hesitate to consult a sleep specialist if you have persistent or severe sleep problems, daytime sleepiness, and / or a problematic sleep schedule. By choosing to have regular checkups, you can keep an eye on your health and take preventative measures in case you are likely to be affected by an illness.

Book the full body health check up today!

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