Non-24 hour sleep-wake syndrome (Non-24) is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. It is one of rarest sleep disorders that doctors have come across. The average person’s circadian rhythm is said to correlate within the 24 hours of a day. Circadian rhythms vary according to the individual, but most of the time, having it correlate between 24-25 hours is the most common type of rhythm. Those suffering from Non-24 do not have stable body clocks. Instead, their rhythms can span from 26 hours or longer. The delay in the cycle is erratic. Those who suffer from this syndrome are usually individuals who live in a facility with no external time cues. Additionally, individuals who are blind often suffer from this syndrome.
There are cases where an individual can have 72 hour cycles on a regular basis. When one has a 72 hour cycle, this will mean that he or she is awake for a full 48 hours. Those suffering from Non-24 Disorder sleep 2 hours longer than their normal wake time.
Individuals who suffer from Non-24 have very irregular circadian rhythms.
Other symptoms associated with this disorder are: Confusion, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, migraines, depresson, muscle pain and weight gain.
Treating Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome
Treatments for this syndrome is similar to those with delayed sleep phase syndrome. The most widely used treatment is a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a hormone responsible for a person’s sleepiness and wakefulness. Light therapy is also a chosen treatment, as it provides stimulants that promote sleep and wakefulness. Other treatments include: chronotherapy and acupuncture.
Like most sleeping disorders, non-24 hour sleep-wake syndrome
can be dealt with when the patient is under constant monitoring and continuted treatment.