Jefferson University Hospitals

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

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Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a group of sleep disorders affecting the timing of sleep and wakefulness. If you are unable to sleep and wake at the times needed to go to work, attend school or meet your personal obligations, seek an experienced sleep medicine specialist at Jefferson.

There are several types of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, including:

  • Shift work sleep disorder – trouble sleeping and sleepiness while awake because you work nights or rotating shifts
  • Advanced sleep-phase syndrome (ASPS) – going to sleep in the early evening and waking up in the early morning
  • Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) – falling asleep at a later time and have difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Jet lag – affects your sleep due to rapidly traveling across several time zones

Your sleep medicine specialist will ask about your medical and neurologic history and the kinds of sleep symptoms you are experiencing. You may have to keep a sleep log to record your natural sleep and wake up times over a period of several weeks to aid in your diagnosis. In certain cases, you may have to wear a watch-like device that monitors your daily activity rhythms.

Treatment of a circadian rhythm sleep disorder depends on the severity of your symptoms. If you have mild symptoms, adhering to strict sleep and wake times should help you get adequate sleep. If your symptoms are severe, however, your physician may recommend altering your sleep patterns, bright light therapy, chronotherapy or certain medications.

Rated a Top Hospital for Sleep Disorders by Philadelphia magazine, the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center was the first such program in the Philadelphia area and is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Make an Appointment

Call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) to make an appointment with a Jefferson Health sleep disorder specialist.