Non-24: More Than Just a Sleep Issue
Non-24-Hour Disorder (Non-24), also known as “free-running type,” is a serious chronic circadian rhythm disorder (CRD).1,2 CRDs represent about 10% of the approximately 75 clinical sleep disorders that are formally recognized.3
While abnormal timing of hormonal patterns can confirm the presence of a CRD, patients complain about the consequential circadian rhythm sleep disorder; disturbed sleep being the most commonly reported symptom associated with misaligned circadian rhythms.4
Non-24 occurs primarily in people who are totally blind because they lack the light perception necessary to entrain, or synchronize, the master body clock in the brain with the 24-hour day-night cycle. For these people, the day-night cycle shifts in and out of alignment with the 24-hour social day.1,2,5
In addition to sleep-wake issues, people who are totally blind with Non-24 often experience symptoms in other physiologic systems governed by the circadian system such as cognitive function, mood, and metabolism. These symptoms can occur even in the absence of sleep complaints.1
Learn more about the physiology of Non-24 here.
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