What is Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder?
Millions of people suffer with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder, and that includes winter depression, Delayed Phase Sleep Disorder, and other sleep disorders. This condition is typically characterized by gastrointestinal distress, poor performance, excessive daytime sleepiness, and insomnia. These symptoms are the result of a misalignment between the body’s internal circadian body clock and the timing of the external social world.
Circadian rhythm refers to a person’s internal body clock that helps to regulate the daily bodily processes. There are many patterns associated with the circadian rhythm, such as cell regeneration, hormone production, brainwave activity, and other activities that are linked with this typical daily cycle.
This circadian rhythm internal clock in people is mainly located in a grouping of cells that is found in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Circadian rhythms are also vitally linked to determining the sleeping patterns of people.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder – Causes and Treatments
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder typically has many causes such as routine changes, medications, time zone changes, pregnancy, and shift work. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder is typically treated depending on the diagnosis for the particular type of sleep disorder. The goal of any treatment plan is to fit the person’s desired lifestyle with a healthy schedule.
Sometimes therapy is used to help people that are diagnosed with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder and it typically combines stimulus therapy like chronotherapy or light therapy with improved sleep hygiene. Light therapy is designed to effectively reset the individual’s circadian rhythm to a more productive pattern.
Chronotherapy is a systematic and gradual behavioral technique where the sleep time is adjusted slightly until the desired and healthy bed time is achieved. Sometimes the combination of these two therapies produces excellent results in individuals that suffer with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder.
It is important that a person that suffers with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder maintain their circadian or internal clock exposed to bright light during daytime hours. Also, quiet activities before going to bed will help you to relax and also to unwind. These activities might include relaxation tapes, listening to soft music, or reading prior to bedtime. In addition, any type of strenuous activity before going to bed should be avoided including late evening exercise.
Regular exercise in the early evening or late afternoons is encouraged if you suffer with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder because it helps to relieve stress and anxiety that is sometimes associated with sleep disorders. Napping is discouraged because it might interfere with sleeping at night. In addition, exposure to bright lights during the evening hours, including video games, computers, and television should be avoided.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine and are suffering with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder, then it’s best to completely avoid caffeine, especially after lunchtime. It’s also important to have the right bedroom environment and that includes having a comfortable bed in a dark, quiet room with comfortable temperature. Also, remember that alcohol interrupts sleep and nicotine is a stimulant, therefore they should be avoided if you’re suffering with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder.