What is Circadian Rhythm Disorder?
Circadian rhythm disorders are disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm—a name given to the “internal body clock” that regulates the (approximately) 24-hour cycle of biological processes in animals and plants. The term circadian comes from Latin words meaning “around the day.”
The key feature of circadian rhythm disorders is a continuous or occasional disruption of sleep patterns. The disruption results from either a malfunction in the “internal body clock” or a mismatch between the “internal body clock” and the external environment regarding the timing and duration of sleep.
As a result of the circadian mismatch, individuals with these disorders usually complain of insomnia at certain times and excessive sleepiness at other times of the day, resulting in work, school, or social impairment.