What is a non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder?

What is a non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder?

Sleep is an important part of your daily routine. It is also one of the most important aspects of your health. But what happens when you don’t get enough of it? That’s when you start to experience a condition called non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder (N24SWD). N24SWD affects up to 4% of the general population. In this post, we discuss the concept of non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder and how it can affect your health, as well as your ability to function normally in day-to-day life.

What Is Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder?

Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder (N24SWD) is a rare but potentially debilitating condition that affects the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. People with N24SWD have a circadian rhythm that is not 24 hours long, meaning their internal clock runs on a slightly different schedule than most people’s. Instead of going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day, they may find themselves drifting out of sync with regular daylight hours, leading to difficulty sleeping and functioning during normal daytime hours.

As a result, they suffer from inappropriate fluctuations in appetite, mood, and alertness because of this ever-changing rhythm. One common symptom experienced by people with N24SWD is the tendency to sleep during the day and struggle to sleep at night when their body clock is heavily desynchronized. During these periods of desynchronization, they may find it difficult to remain alert during the day while feeling exhausted at night. This can lead to frustration and stress for affected individuals as they try to balance their daily activities around their erratic sleep patterns.

While caffeine may provide a quick fix for drowsiness, its effects on the body can be far-reaching. Studies have shown that consuming caffeine can disrupt the circadian rhythm and lead to a desynchronization between the internal clock and external cues. This effect is particularly pronounced in individuals who consume large amounts of caffeine or those who consume it later in the day when their bodies are naturally preparing for sleep.

This condition affects the body’s natural sleep cycle, resulting in difficulty maintaining a regular schedule. People with this disorder may find it challenging to follow through with daily tasks such as attending school, work, or keeping up with household duties.

One of the most common symptoms experienced by individuals with non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder is depression. The stress and anxiety that come from not being able to maintain a consistent routine can take a toll on one’s mental health.

Causes Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder?

Total blindness can have a significant impact on one’s sleep-wake cycle. Studies show that people with total blindness are more likely to suffer from sleep-wake disorders compared to those with normal vision. Approximately 50% of individuals who are totally blind experience Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (N24SWD). This condition occurs when the body’s natural circadian rhythm, which is typically synchronized with the 24-hour day-night cycle, becomes desynchronized.

The lack of light input is believed to be the primary cause of N24SWD in blind individuals. Light plays a crucial role in regulating our internal clock and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Without external cues provided by light, such as sunlight or artificial lighting, the body may struggle to differentiate between day and night. As a result, some individuals experience their sleep-wake cycle drifting slowly over time.

Such issues aren’t limited to people who have vision problems alone; anyone could face this problem. The condition could be caused by various factors such as head injury, tumors, or other medical conditions that affect the brain’s functioning. If left unchecked, it can lead to severe consequences such as insomnia and fatigue.

Symptoms of Non-24-Hour Sleep-wake Rhythm Disorder?

Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder is a condition in which people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for a normal period of time. This can cause problems with school, work, and other activities.

The symptoms of Non-24 can be frustrating and disruptive to daily life. While some sufferers may feel normal for days or even weeks, their sleep schedule will inevitably shift again, causing difficulties in falling asleep and staying awake at appropriate times. This can lead to a range of issues such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and decreased productivity throughout the day.

Risk Factors for Non-24-Hour Sleep-wake Rhythm Disorder

These cases are very rare and people who are not blind can also have this disorder. It is possible that there are conditions that will make this problem easier to deal with. It’s important that we have daily light and other activities in order to get a good night’s sleep. It’s possible that this condition can occur in people with weaker clocks. This is true when they don’t get enough exposure to daily light. If you didn’t leave a dark room, your clock may not go back to normal. It’s possible that your sleep time could change later in the day.

Some people with this problem may have mental health issues. Substance abuse, as well as this disorder, may be seen with other behaviors. In people who are being treated for delayed sleep-wake phase, this problem has also been reported. If a person has a neurological or brain disorder, they may also have this problem.

  • Mental disability
  • Brain injury
  • Dementia

How to get Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing irregular sleep patterns and have trouble maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, it’s possible that you may be suffering from a circadian rhythm disorder known as Non-24 Sleep Wake Disorder (N24SWD). This disorder affects the body’s internal clock, causing it to move out of sync with the 24-hour cycle typically followed by most people. As a result, your sleep schedule gradually shifts over time, leading to difficulties in both work and family life.

N24SWD can cause a variety of symptoms, including insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, irritability or mood swings. Those who suffer from this condition often find themselves unable to maintain regular employment due to their unpredictable sleeping habits. The lack of predictability in their schedules can lead to missed appointments and social engagements as well.

N24SWD, also known as Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, is a rare condition that affects an estimated 70% of blind individuals in the United States. This disorder often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to its similarity with sleep deprivation and mental health issues. However, it’s essential to understand that N24SWD is a separate and unique disorder that requires specialized treatment.

Treatment for Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder

Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder (NSWD) is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep. The disorder can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, caffeine, alcohol, and medications. You have several options for treatment.


Light therapy is an effective way to treat N24SWD. It involves the use of a light box, which emits a bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. This helps reset the body’s internal clock and regulate circadian rhythms. However, it’s important to protect your eyes when using light therapy, especially if you’re doing it during the day.

To shield their eyes from the intense brightness of the light box, many patients use special telescope equipment that fits over their glasses or contacts. These shields are designed to filter out harmful UV rays and reduce glare so that patients can safely undergo treatment without putting their vision at risk. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on the type of device being used and how close it needs to be placed to the face.


Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in response to darkness. It plays a crucial role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. In other words, melatonin tells your body when it’s time to sleep and wake up. People who have trouble sleeping often turn to melatonin supplements, which are widely available over the counter.

By taking the correct dosage at the right times, you can adjust your body clock so that you go to sleep earlier or later. For example, if you struggle with insomnia and tend to stay up late at night, taking melatonin earlier in the evening can help you fall asleep sooner. On the other hand, if you’re always tired in the morning and want to shift your schedule forward, taking melatonin late at night can help push back your wake-up time.


If you’re having trouble sleeping, your doctor may recommend a prescription drug that targets the parts of the brain that control the timing of the sleep-wake cycle. These drugs are designed to help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle by affecting specific chemical messengers in your brain. They work by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters or blocking others, which can help improve sleep quality and duration.

Taking Care of Yourself

Managing a chronic condition can be challenging, especially when it comes to sleep patterns. While treatment is essential, it’s only part of the equation. You can take control of your life by looking for creative ways to adjust to your shifting sleep patterns. It’s important to remember that everyone’s situation is unique, so what works for one person may not work for you.

Begin by thinking about what’s most important to you and how you can make positive changes in your life. This might involve adapting your daily routine or finding new hobbies that help you relax and unwind. Consider talking to friends and family members about how they manage their own health conditions – you might find inspiration in their stories and experiences. It’s also essential to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

For individuals with Non-24, a circadian rhythm disorder that affects the body’s internal clock, this can be an ongoing struggle. If you’re finding it hard to keep up with work or school due to Non-24, there are steps you can take to get the help you need.

If you’re employed, consider discussing your situation with your boss and requesting flexible hours. This could include working from home or having different start and end times each day. Additionally, if you’re a student taking classes on campus, ask if it’s possible to take courses online or watch lectures on video instead. You may also be able to request a lighter course load or flexible exam schedule. It’s important to note that Non-24 is recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


A non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder is when someone doesn’t have a regular sleeping schedule. Some people with this condition wake up at night and go back to bed, while others can’t sleep at all. People with this disorder may not feel tired during the day.

A non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder can be caused by an underlying medical condition such as depression or anxiety, or it may be related to a substance use disorder.

Symptoms include: Feeling groggy or tired when you wake up in the morning. Difficulty staying awake during the day. Falling asleep while driving. Having a hard time getting to sleep at night.


In conclusion, there are a number of different treatment options available for non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder. These include medications, behavioral therapy, and light therapy. For some people, it may be possible to use a combination of these treatments to achieve the best results. It is also important to recognize that there is no single solution for all people with this condition. It is therefore important to work with a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine to identify the best treatment options for you.

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