Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders and Phototherapy

Christopher D. Fahey, Phyllis C. Zee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are characterized by a desynchronization between the intrinsic circadian clock and the extrinsic light-dark cycle. As a result, symptoms of excessive sleepiness and insomnia can lead to significant impairment of daytime functioning. The six currently recognized circadian rhythm sleep disorders may involve either a primary abnormality of the patient's circadian clock or a normal functioning circadian clock with a newly changed external physical environment. Both light therapy and melatonin can be used strategically to realign the patient's endogenous sleep-wake cycle with the preferred sleep-wake schedule. Continued research of the underlying pathophysiology of circadian rhythm sleep disorders may lead to improved treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-1007
Number of pages19
JournalPsychiatric Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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