Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders describes a category of disorders in which the normal functioning of sleep times are out of alignment. A patient with one of these disorders does not follow the normal patterns of falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning. This can be caused by a variety of issues.
The most common include:
DELAYED SLEEP-WAKE PHASE
This is a circadian rhythm disorder in which a person’s rhythm is delayed by two or more hours, causing them to go to sleep later at night and sleep in later in the morning than the average person.
ADVANCED SLEEP-WAKE PHASE
This is a circadian disorder causes people to fall asleep several hours before a normal bedtime and wake up hours earlier than most people wake in the morning.
IRREGULAR SLEEP-WAKE RHYTHM
Unlike Delayed Sleep or Advanced Sleep disorder, the Irregular Sleep-Wake Rhythm disorder causes person’s circadian rhythms to be so off balance to the point that there is no clear sleep or wake pattern. This is a truly irregular rhythm and causes people with this sleep disorder to sleep off and on during the 24-hour period of a day. Their sleep patterns resemble a series of naps.
This is a very common condition caused by non-traditional work schedule involving night shifts – frequently seen in doctors and night security guards. Since these people are awake all night when the normal circadian rhythm wants them to be sleeping, Shift Work Sleep Disorder condition causes what daytime sleep occurs to be poor and brings about frequent feelings of fatigue or exhaustion.
Jet Lag is a very frequent condition that occurs when someone travels across multiple time zones. These time zones can make it hard for a person to adjust and catch up to a current location, especially if travel is frequent. Jet Lag causes difficulty in adjusting to the new schedule which can cause fatigue, exhaustion, and extreme drowsiness.