The circadian rhythm sleep disorders symptoms can be detected by any signs of disrupted sleep. Circadian rhythm sleep disorder occurs due to persistent patterns of sleep disruptions, which lead to excessive sleepiness due to the mismatch of the natural circadian rhythm of the body. These disturbances in sleep cause significant problems in the daily lives of people, such as distress, impairment in social lives and other areas that affect the normal functioning of the body.
Identifying Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders Symptoms
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder is a whole family of sleep disorders that affect the timing and quality of sleep in individuals. Any disturbances in the natural sleep cycle of people leads to a number of abnormalities. Rotating/night shift workers and blind people are usually more prone to this type of disorder. The natural internal clock (circadian rhythm) in the human body controls various activities from the brain, known as suprachiasmatic nucleus. This regulates the hormone levels, appetite and the body temperature. The suprachiasmatic nucleus is also responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycles, which are set by the visual cues of day and night (light and dark).
Shift work sleep disorder and jet lag syndrome occur more commonly. The jet lag syndrome occurs when people travel at very long distances and is characterized by many symptoms such as sleepiness, insomnia, stomach problems, etc. Shift work sleep disorder on the other hand, occurs as a result of irregularly scheduled work hours, which cause a shift in the regular sleep patterns. Therefore, the alteration in the internal circadian rhythm of the body is the major cause of giving rise to the circadian rhythm sleep disorders symptoms.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder Subtypes and Symptoms
There are various types of circadian rhythm sleep disorder subtypes, each of which have varying symptoms. The different subtypes of circadian rhythm sleep disorders include:
DSPS (delayed sleep phase syndrome) – This is a sleep timing disorder. It is related to people who sleep very late at night and having trouble waking up on time everyday. The symptoms seen in this type of circadian rhythm sleep disorder include:
- Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
- Difficulty in functioning properly in the morning
- Feeling excessively sleepy during desired working periods
ASPS (advanced sleep phase syndrome) – This is also a sleep disorder related to sleep timings. People suffering of ASPS, wake up and fall asleep much earlier than the desired time, also much earlier than the body’s natural circadian rhythm. The common advanced sleep phase syndrome symptoms include:
- Waking up spontaneously earlier than the desired time
- Reduced alertness during the day
- Excessive evening sleepiness
SWSD (shift work sleep disorder) – This is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that work on frequently rotating shifts or late night shifts. The shift work sleep disorder has the following symptoms:
- Trouble focusing or concentrating
- Increased level of stress
- Excessive sleepiness at any time
- Body weakness or lack of energy
- Irritability and other mood swing problems
Jet lag – People who travel across different time zones are faced with this circadian rhythm sleep disorder. The symptoms of jet lag usually get intensified based on the frequency of change in timings. Its symptoms include:
- General dissatisfaction and depression
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Inability to sleep at night
- Lack of concentration
Sleep Disorders Symptoms Deciphered
Sleep is the most important thing that keeps the body functioning normally. It is a major factor that affects growth and health directly. Lack of sleep has been linked to problems such as depressions, mood swings, blood pressure problems, indigestion, and many more. Similarly, excessive sleep is also associated with problems like sluggishness, emotional problems, tiredness, stress and others.
However, sleep disorders symptoms follow certain patterns that can immediately enable people to detect signs of any disorders. For example, it will be easy to tell if one is suffering of insomnia because its major cause is lack of sleep. Syndromes such as REM sleep disorder, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea are caused as a result of disturbed sleep, and narcolepsy is a caused by excessive sleep.
Identifying Sleep Disorders Symptoms
Some people may not be able to identify whether their problem of lack of sleep is a potential warning related to chronic disorders. When people are suffering from symptoms such as the ones mentioned below, the chances are that there may be a greater underlying problem that should be addressed ASAP.
- Emotional instability
- Constant fatigue
- Cravings for stimulants to stay awake, such as caffeine, tobacco, etc.
- Slow reactions
- Low concentration
- Anger management problems
- The desire for naps everyday or feeling unusually sleepy during stationary activities such as driving, watching TV, etc.
- Looking and feeling very tires and exhausted throughout the day
In order to diagnose the disorders, sleep cycles may need to be recorded and monitored. It should be remembered however, that discomfort and stress are the main sleep disorders symptoms that need to be watched out for.