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Alternative Names Return to topSleep-wake syndrome - irregular
Definition Return to top
Irregular sleep-wake syndrome involves different and disorganized periods of sleeping and wakeful behavior.
Causes Return to top
Some people have an irregular sleep-wake pattern because of a problem with brain function, the body's internal clock (circadian pacemaker), or other reasons.
This disorder is very uncommon. It typically occurs in someone with a brain dysfunction who does not have a regular routine during the day. The amount of total sleep time is normal, but the body clock loses its normal circadian cycle.
Similar symptoms may be seen in people who have frequently changing work shifts and in travelers who often change time zones. These people have a different condition, such as shift work sleep disorder or jet lag syndrome.
Exams and Tests Return to top
People with irregular sleep-wake syndrome may have either insomnia or excessive sleepiness. Patients usually have at least 3 abnormal sleep episodes during a 24-hour period, but their total amount of sleep time is considered normal for their age.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Most people may occasionally have disturbances in their sleep. However, if this type of irregular sleep-wake pattern occurs regularly and without cause, you may consider consulting your health care provider.Update Date: 4/25/2008 Updated by: Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veteran Affairs, VA System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.