The body has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm. It controls the timing of hormone production, body temperature, appetite, and sleep. People with circadian rhythm sleep disorders have trouble sleeping and waking at the times required for normal work, school or other activities. Often, they can receive quality sleep if allowed to sleep and wake on their body’s sleep schedule.
These disorders can be caused by neurologic disease or by environmental or social circumstances. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders can include:
- Time zone change or jet lag syndrome
- Shift work sleep disorders
- Irregular sleep-wake pattern: sleeping at irregular times
- Delayed sleep phase syndrome: falling asleep very late and having trouble waking up in the morning
- Advanced sleep phase syndrome: trouble staying awake in the evening and staying asleep in the morning
There are several treatment options available for circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Changing habits such as avoiding naps and caffeine may help improve sleep. Doctors may also recommend bright light therapy or medications that could include short term sleep aids or a natural sleep aid called melatonin.
Specially trained sleep specialists at Gundersen can diagnose sleep disorders and provide the best treatment options.