Everything You Need to Know About Irregular Sleep-Wake Syndrome

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Sleeping at inappropriate times, waking multiple times during the sleep are uncommon conditions that indicate a person may suffer from Sleep-Wake Disorders. Chronic sleep loss will interfere with a person’s daily activities and affect the sufferer’s ability to perform and think.

Unlike trouble sleeping at times, the sleep disorders arise due to alterations in the sleep pattern influence the physical and mental health of the sufferer. People who have such unstructured sleeping syndrome have higher chances of various health risks like memory problems, increased appetite, weight gain, etc.

What causes irregular sleep-wake syndrome?

Our body has an internal biological clock called Circadian Rhythm. It is endogenously generated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brains along with Circadian system that regulates the regular functionalities like sleeping, eating, secretion of hormones, etc for a human body.

Both the circadian system and suprachiasmatic nucleus can be easily influenced by the surrounding factors especially light. Melatonin is the hormone produced in the brain which makes a person sleepy. The hormone which is needed for regular sleep line is secreted at a higher amount in dark but cannot be generated much in the light. It is the reason behind living beings sleep in night and wake up when the sun radiates its shine.

The disruption in the circadian system is associated with misaligned melatonin rhythms which makes a person tired or sleepy at inconvenient times. It leads to various sleep disorders like excessive daytime sleeping, difficulties in sleeping at night, etc.

What are the types of Sleep Disorders?

Apart from the interruptions in the circadian system, various external factors like health disorders, stress also awake a person multiple times throughout the sleep. Depending on the underlying factors, sleep disorders are categorized as follows:

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a common sleep obstructive disorder which awakens a person by temporarily stopping the breath for a few minutes. The sufferers cannot remember those awakenings and feel distressed or dizzy all over the day. Doctors reveal that this problem may arise due to birth defects or dental issues like large overbite, Other reasons include enlarged tonsils or tumor growth in the airway.


Narcolepsy is an uncommon sleep disorder which makes a person sleep in an extravagant manner even in the middle of any activity he/she is doing. It happens because of the lack of hypocretin, a chemical needed for the brain to keep awake. Deficiency in secreting the neuropeptide fluid will influence the wakefulness in a negative manner. It is hard to cure because the advanced treatments to treat this sleep disorder are not found yet.

Restless Legs Syndrome

It is also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease.  It arises because of the side effects of certain medications, hormone changes or other chronic diseases. The syndrome causes discomforts like burning sensation, itching, creeping, tugging and other pains in the legs. It is considered as sleep disorder because such complications in leg arise after going to bed or while sleeping. It can be cured with medications.

Hypersomnolence Disorder

This is the condition which makes a person sleep for multiple times even after getting enough sleep for a day. This is the reason behind excessive daytime sleeping. The problem arises because of factors like stress, excess of alcohol consumption or other existing mental disorders. The sleep-wake disorder requires immediate care as it will affect the sufferers’ activities in their center of learning or workplaces.


The practice of doing atypical activities during sleep is termed as Parasomnias. Behavioral disorders like sleepwalking, sleeptalking, sleep eating and others performed in the state of low consciousness. As the complex things are done by the sufferers in a low conscious stage, they cannot recall or remember the happenings which last for a few minutes.


It is a well-known sleep disorder which makes a person feel difficult to fall asleep and tough to stay asleep. People who are suffering from insomnia disorders get awakened quickly because of their difficulties in getting sleep. As the sufferers do not get enough sleep to relax their mind and body, they are highly prone to various psychiatric problems and health discomforts.

Asynchronous sleep with the biological clock

It can be simply defined as Circadian Rhythm sleep disorder which actually arises due to the disruptions in the internal biological clock of a person.

The lifestyle changes and work schedule make many people stay awake for a while in the night. As mentioned earlier, the production of melatonin is at a higher level during night which tells our body need sleep. If we work against the alert, it will upset the sleep-wake cycle and lead to sleep disorders like:

      • Jet Lag
      • Delayed sleep phase disorder
      • Shift work sleep disorder

Taking a break at regular intervals to soften the mind and exposure to bright light are the simple ways to minimize the risks.


Besides the performance in work, sleep-wake disorders which cause hardships in sleeping will provoke various health discomforts like chronic headache, vision problems and much more. Luckily, most of the sleep disorders can be cured with treatments like light therapy, chronotherapy, etc.

In certain cases, getting a consultation from Psychiatrists is also mandatory to treat disrupted sleeping patterns. This is because sleep disorders may be a warning signal of mental health illness.


About Author

Dheenadayalan is a Blogger and loves to share informative things with the people. His interest in writing encourages him to go deep research in order to curate an article filled with enlightening things.