It is always good to have a sleeping schedule. It helps in focusing on work studies and social life. Keeping a track of sleep time also has various health benefits. Having said that, what if a person cannot follow a sleeping schedule even if he or she wants to? There are people who face difficulties while sleeping at a fixed time. Some of them may have reasons such as work or study load while others may have fallen victim to Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome.
Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome, a neurological disorder where a person cannot follow a constant sleep cycle. The sleep wake cycle extends beyond 24 hours and a patient is unable to limit or sleep within 24 hours of their previous nap. A person experiencing the disorder may not be able to predict their next sleeping time. In some cases, people may find themselves sleepless for as long as a day and a half and in extreme cases, even more.
Causes of Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome
Although Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome often affects blind people, it can also affect sighted people. In some reported cases, the syndrome was said to result due to a head injury or a previous neurological disorder.
Several experiments suggested that the syndrome is somehow linked to the functioning of Retina. People having light sensitivity issues were found more vulnerable to Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome. It was concluded that the brain does not react well to intense light.
Interestingly, light is said to synchronize the body clock and hence people with even the minimal visibility are seldom subjected to the syndrome. However, for blind people, as there are no photic signals that reach the brain, the body clock does not sync and hence the sleeping schedule is expected to be disrupted.
Symptoms of Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome
Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome may result due to other physical and mental problems in a host. Some of the major symptoms include physical, neurological and sleep disorders. They are mentioned below:
- Digestive issues such as Diarrhea and Nausea.
- Mental problems such as Suicide thoughts, confusion and depression.
- Neurological and motoring issues such as Ideomotor apraxia and Kinetic apraxia etc.
- Women’s health problems such as irregular menstrual cycles.
- Headaches and muscle fatigue.
Treatment for Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome
The sleep syndrome has different treatment methods for blind and sighted people. For sighted people, exposure to intense light upon awakening has been very effective. Therapists focus on exposing the retina to more light. For this purpose, doctors recommend going out on a sunny day. In some extreme cases, hypnotism and sleep stimulant were also used and were found effective against this syndrome.
In case of blind people, drugs and medicines are also prescribed. Several researches also indicate that use of melatonin is also effective in reducing the effects of Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome.
As to conclude, Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome is neurological sleeping disorder where a person fails to maintain a sleep cycle within 24 hours. Even in case of extreme tiredness, sleeping becomes too difficult. It has mainly to do with retina malfunctioning. The disease is curable thanks to the sleep researchers.