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What are circadian rhythm sleep disorders?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders happen when your body clock is not in synch with day and night. People tend to sleep at night, when it is dark, and be awake during the day, when it is light. The body's circadian rhythms may be disturbed when this natural pattern is not followed, leading to sleep problems like not being able to fall asleep, or not being able to wake up normally. Common situations that can lead to circadian rhythm sleep disorder include having jet lag or working at night.

Circadian rhythm disorder refers to a group of conditions in which the body's natural psychological and biological rhythms are disrupted. They are very common; shift workers who work nontraditional hours are particularly vulnerable to this condition. About 15% of Americans are shift workers.

Other people at risk for circadian rhythm disorders are frequent travelers who experience jet lag, those with irregular sleep patterns, teenagers and people with a genetic predisposition for this condition.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.