Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder (CRSD)

Definition - What does Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder (CRSD) mean?

Circadian rhythm sleep disorder (CRSD) is a condition that causes the sufferer to have abnormal sleep patterns. The human body has an internal system, called the circadian rhythm, that regulates its physiological workings such as sleeping and eating. Working as the body's clock, the circadian rhythm helps to keep the body's systems on a regular schedule. When a person's circadian rhythm is disrupted, his or her sleeping or eating patterns may become irregular. When a disruption of a person's circadian rhythm interferes with his or her normal sleeping patterns, a circadian rhythm sleep disorder may be diagnosed. Circadian rhythm sleep disorder may also be called circadian rhythm disorder or circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder.

WorkplaceTesting explains Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder (CRSD)

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSDs) may be temporary or permanent, depending on the underlying cause of the condition. A delayed sleep phase disorder, sometimes called delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that causes the sufferer to be unable to fall asleep in the evening. This condition results in the person staying awake late into the night and then being unable to wake during normal morning hours. In comparison, a person who is suffering from a non-24 hour sleep-wake disorder operates on a cycle that is longer than the standard 24 hours. Thus, over a series of days, the person's waking and sleeping patterns work their way around the clock. Someone suffering from advanced sleep phase syndrome (ASPS), on the other hand, may not be able to stay asleep and instead wake before morning. Finally, someone with irregular sleep-wake disorder (ISWD) has very irregular sleeping and waking patterns. Someone with ISWD may sleep in three separate shifts throughout the day.

In addition to the above chronic sleep disturbances, some individuals suffer from what is known as shift work disorder. This condition arises as a result of the person's work conditions, in particular, a work schedule that interferes with the body's normal sleeping schedule. Because the person's scheduled work shift forces him or her to sleep at times that are not physiologically optimal, sleep disruptions may occur. Another example of a sleep disorder triggered by scheduling conflicts is jet lag.

Some CRSDs may be treated with bright light therapy to trigger the body's natural response to day light. Chronotherapy, in which the person sleep times are gradually shifted to a better schedule may also be used to treat CRSD. Other therapies may include changes in the person's physical environment, work schedule or lifestyle. In some instances medications may be used to treat CRSD. For circadian rhythm sleep disorders caused in part by sleep apnea, surgery may help to alleviate the condition.

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