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Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

A circadian rhythm sleep disorder occurs when the internal clock regulating sleep and wakefulness is weakened or when it is misaligned with a person's desired sleep period.


  • Advanced sleep phase syndrome. Going to sleep earlier at night and waking earlier in the morning.
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome. Going to sleep later at night and sleeping later in the morning (typically delayed by two or more hours)
  • Shift work sleep disorder. Experiencing a constant or recurrent pattern of sleep interruption due to shift work schedule, resulting in difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep and/or excessive sleepiness when awake. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, headaches, and low energy
  • Jet Lag sleep disorder. A temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones causing sleep disruption while adjusting to a new time zone.
  • Irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder. A rare form of circadian rhythm sleep disorder characterized by numerous naps throughout the 24-hour period, no main nighttime sleep period and irregularity from day to day.


  • Consistent difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or sleepiness during shift work
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased alertness and difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired judgment and trouble controlling mood and emotions
  • Aches and pains, including headaches
  • Stomach problems (jet lag disorder) 


A consultation with one of our board-certified sleep physicians is the first step in diagnosing a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. You also may be asked to track your sleep for a week prior to your appointment by using a sleep log. Your doctor will thoroughly review your medical history; ask about your symptoms, sleep patterns, and environment; perform a physical exam; and may order diagnostic tests. 

Other sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea, have similar symptoms, so your physician may also order a sleep study to ensure that you are receiving the correct diagnosis.


Treatment of any other sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea, will be critical when working on your circadian rhythm sleep disorder. Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, pharmacological treatments and light therapy.

For more information about our services, please call us at 714-509-2230

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