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
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