Last Updated on Mar 11, 2020

Classification of Sleep Disorders - Circadian Rhythm Disorders

"Circadian” in Latin means ‘for about a day’. Any disturbance of the body clock can lead to Circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

The body clock is located in the hypothalamus region of the brain in an area called the Supra chaismatic Nucleus. Signals are transmitted to the body clock to convey sleep time and wake up time. Sunlight, by far is the most potent of wake up signals (also called ‘Zeitgeber’). Weather, darkness and sound are other significant signals received by the body. Circadian rhythm disorders are caused when the body clock is unable to recognize and interpret these signals correctly.

Some of the circadian rhythm disorders are-

  • Jet lag
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Irregular sleep-wake pattern
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Advanced sleep phase syndrome
  • Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder

Symptoms of circadian rhythm sleep disorders include-

  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

Treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders include-

  • Short term use of sedatives


  1. Coren, Stanley. Sleep Thieves: An Eye-Opening Exploration into the Science and Mysteries of Sleep. New York: The Free Press; 1996, p. 287.
  2. Sleep Disorders - (


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