Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder: Irregular Sleep Wake Rhythm

Phyllis C. Zee*, Michael V. Vitiello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder (ISWRD) is characterized by the relative absence of a circadian pattern in an individual's sleep-wake cycle. ISWRD is thought to result from some combination of degeneration or decreased neuronal activity of suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons, decreased responsiveness of the circadian clock to entraining agents such as light and activity, and decreased exposure to bright light and structured social and physical activity during the day. Studies of the effectiveness of pharmacologic treatments for ISWRD generally have yielded negative or inconsistent results. In general multimodal nonpharmacologic approaches involving increased exposure to light, increased physical and social activities, and improved sleep hygiene have been the most successful therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine Clinics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Circadian
  • Irregular
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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