What are sleep-wake disorders?
A person has a sleep rhythm that roughly coincides with the 24-hour rhythm of day and night. We call this a circadian rhythm. From Latin: approximately = approximately, dies = day). However, this sleep-wake rhythm is driven by our internal biological clock. As a result, the body knows when it is time to go to sleep and when it is time to wake up. The substance melatonin plays an important role in this. The production of melatonin when it gets dark makes us sleepy and we fall asleep.
Disruption of the biological clock leads to a disturbed sleep rhythm and therefore a disturbed sleep.
What are the consequences?
The disturbed sleep-wake rhythm ensures that someone falls asleep or leaves them early. Or someone gets a very irregular sleep pattern. That is why, in the long run, people with sleep-wake disorders experience a lack of sleep. This can lead to daytime fatigue and sleepiness.
What are the causes?
The best known cause of a temporary sleep-wake disorder is having a jet lag after staying in a different time zone. The biological clock then needs some time to adjust to the time in a different time zone. But sleep-wake disorders can also occur due to stress, medication use or irregular working hours such as working in shifts. Then a sleep rhythm disorder can no longer be temporary, but can become chronic.
How is the diagnosis made?
At the Ruysdael Slaapkliniek neurologists work who specialize in sleep disorders. The diagnosis is made on the basis of the patient’s typical complaints.
Can sleep-wake disorders be corrected?
The sleep specialists at the Ruysdael Slaapkliniek can treat sleep disorders by prescribing melatonin, whether or not in combination with chronotherapy and light therapy.