Circadian rhythm sleep disorder is a persistent rhythm disruption sleep disorder that is characterized by an altered sleep cycle.Circadian rhythm is a term used to describe the body clock that manages the sleep and wake cycle of a human being. Circadian rhythm sleep disorder is also called sleep wake schedule disorder, or dyssomnia.
The top five symptoms of circadian rhythm sleep disorder, classified on the basis of their causes and associated symptoms, are listed below:
1. Sleep phase. These are the major symptoms of circadian rhythm sleep disorder, characterized by habitual late sleep and an inability to stick to a general sleep schedule. Although people with this disorder sleep regular hours and are awake for the remaining hours of the day, the time when they begin and end their sleep, is abnormal. A person suffering from this type of dyssomnia exhibits sleepiness throughout the hours they are awake.
2. Jet lag. This is generally exhibited when a person travels between time zones. Due to the change in time zones, the person either goes to sleep early and wakes up early, or sleeps late and wakes up late. The person finds it difficult to sleep during the desired sleep hours. This sleep disruption is caused due to the inability to adjust to a new time zone.
3. Shift work. Symptoms are exhibited by people who work in rotating shifts, especially ones that change gradually. This change in work schedule affects the sleep cycle. Frequent changes in shifts can cause severe sleep disruption. These people display sleepiness during work hours and other periods of the day and are unable to sleep during the desired sleep period. This leads to insufficient hours of sleep. Other sleep disruptions caused by family or social functions during sleep hours, together with an inability to sleep, lead to many other associated problems like insomnia, metabolic irregularity, and constipation.
4. Unspecified symptoms are characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day, or insomnia. The person may not be able to sleep during the desired sleep hours or for the desired number of hours, and may face constant sleep disruption. In addition, the hours when the person feels sleepy changes frequently. As a result, the person is unable to determine when he or she is likely to fall asleep or wake up. This type of dyssomnia for a longer period leads to severe insomnia and irritability.
5. Any of the above four symptoms can lead to associated symptoms like excessive sleepiness, insomnia, impaired social functions, impaired concentration, distress, or other metabolic disorders.
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