Body rhythm disorders can occur at any age. These disorders
are disruptions in the patient's circadian rhythm (the
internal body clock) that affect the timing of sleep.
People with these disorders have difficulty sleeping
and waking at the times required for work, school, and
are some of the more common circadian rhythm disorders?
Common circadian rhythm disorders are:
-Jet lag or rapid time zone change syndrome
-Shift work sleep disorder
-Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)
-Advanced sleep phase syndrome
-Non 24-hour sleep- wake disorder
any of these disorders more common than the others?
Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) is perhaps the most common
of these. It usually becomes evident during adolescence. People
who have this problem have a shift in their body rhythms.
As a result, they have trouble going to sleep at night and
trouble staying awake during the daytime. High school and
college students with DSPS often perform poorly in school
and may lose employment as a result of this disorder.
are circadian rhythm disorders treated?
Treatment for these disorders depends upon the type of disorder
that affects the patient. Treatment options include:
-Chronotherapy, in which the bedtime is gradually and systematically
adjusted until the ideal bedtime is achieved. A firm commitment
from both the patient and caregiver is needed as it can take
weeks to successfully shift the sleep-wake cycle.
-Bright light therapy which is used to advance or delay sleep.
It works by resetting a person's circadian clock.
-Medications such as melatonin, wake-promoting agents, and
short-term sleep aids may be used to adjust the sleep-wake
-Behavior therapy, such as maintaining regular sleep-wake
cycle, avoiding naps, exercising, and avoidance of caffeine,
nicotine and alcohol within several hours of bedtime.