Woman shining light on herself with a light therapy lamp

How Light Therapy Can Help With Your Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder

DTC Thrasio

As we all know, sleep is important. Without it, we are nothing but husks in a meat vessel. That’s why those with circadian rhythm sleep disorder know exactly what I mean when I say that having no sleep or a bad sleep pattern can be disruptive to our mood, health, and overall well-being! 

Those suffering from circadian rhythm disorder have an abnormal sleep pattern that involves either difficulty falling asleep, trouble waking up during the sleep cycle, or waking up too early and being unable to go back to sleep. 

Having your sleep pattern disrupted regularly in this way is, to say the least, hellish. Your brain needs sleep like we need food - without it, no part of our body functions correctly.

So, what do we do to kick circadian rhythm sleep disorder to the curb?

I’ll show you the light - literally! That’s right, I’m talking about light therapy, or specifically, light therapy lamps. This treatment is one of the easiest, most natural ways to get your body back to a normal sleep pattern with little to no disruption. 

Confused? I don’t blame you. But don’t worry, we’re going to get into all of it - the causes of this disorder, the best light therapy lamps to treat it, and more. So get your PJ’s on, because it’s time to get on the train to snooze town!

The 6 Types of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder:

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder (CRSD) is actually divided up into 6 different categories, depending on the type of abnormal sleep pattern or type of work you have: 

  • Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS): Unsurprisingly, this is most common in teens. Between 7-16% of adolescents have DSPS - a condition in which you have a delayed circadian rhythm and go to sleep later than most and wake up later, or have trouble waking up on time. 

  • Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASP): People with ASP often go to bed earlier than most people (between 6-9pm), and wake up very early (between 2-5am). People with ASP are often middle-aged or older adults.

  • Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24): This is one of the rarest forms, in which the brain does not recognize the lighting cues that signal us to wake up or sleep, causing irregular sleep patterns. People with dementia, blindness, or an intellectual disability are the most at-risk for this disorder. 

  • Irregular Sleep-Wake Disorder (ISWD): People with this disorder do not sleep for extended periods of time, and instead take a bunch of naps throughout the day - this results in an inability to sleep, but excessive daytime sleepiness. 

  • Shift Work Disorder: Those who work at night or super early in the morning may suffer from this, and have a hard time getting enough sleep in the daytime to compensate for lost sleep at night. 

  • Jet Lag Disorder: Arguably one of the most common disorders, in which a person travels into another time zone and has a hard time adjusting to the new time. The bigger the difference, the worse the jet lag is! 
  • What Causes Irregular Sleep?

    Most causes of an abnormal sleep pattern that leads to this disorder come from general health problems, such as heartburn, diabetes, kidney disease, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and thyroid disease. 

    Circadian sleep disorder can also be the result of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. On top of that, even general life habits and environment can affect our sleep! Having an irregular sleep pattern due to technology habits, taking care of an infant, or just forcibly attempting to stay awake can all also result in a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. 

    Factors of Environment 

    Irregular sleep patterns can also often be caused by our surroundings. If you’re dealing with symptoms of this disorder, consider if the following are contributing to your discomfort: 

    • Amount of light in your room
    • No blinds on your windows
    • An overabundance of physical activity
    • Social activities (staying out late often)
    • Melatonin levels

    What Types of People are More Likely to Suffer from Circadian Rhythm Disorder?

    If all of the causes weren’t enough, it’s also possible that some people are simply more likely to suffer from this disorder than others. I know - as if we didn’t have enough issues, now we can get sleep disorders just from being ourselves. 

    So, what types of people are more at risk for these kinds of disorders? Well, those with irregular work shifts who do a lot of traveling are most at risk for having an irregular circadian rhythm, but the list doesn’t stop there: 

    Those who are most at risk for circadian rhythm sleep disorder: 

    • Those suffering from chronic pain syndromes, dementia, hyperthyroidism, and/or an intellectual disability 
    • Those who travel overseas regularly, work evening shifts, or have an irregular work schedule 
    • Those who take medications such as amphetamines, asthma drugs, clonidine, SSRIs, steroids, and/or theophylline

    How Do You Know If Your Circadian Rhythm is Off?

    If you’re reading this blog and are thinking that you might be suffering from circadian rhythm sleep disorder, here’s a good way to tell - according to the Cleveland Clinic, these are the most common circadian rhythm sleep disorder symptoms

    • Excessive daytime sleepiness 
    • Sleep loss
    • Depression
    • Relationship stress
    • Difficulty waking up in the morning
    • Poor work or school performance 
    • Inability to meet social obligations
    • Insomnia

    It’s true that some of these things are just a part of life, but if you find that your sleep schedule is impeding on your activities and daily habits, it may be time to look into the possibility that you’re suffering from a type of CRSD. 

    How Do You Fix Circadian Rhythm Disorder?

    We’ve talked a lot about the issue, now it’s time to get to the answers! There are several different circadian rhythm sleep disorder treatments, from medication to more natural methods.

    • LED Light Therapy: This is the most common (and most natural) route to handle your sleep cycle disorder. Light therapy lamps are designed specifically to realign your circadian rhythm with the sun’s pattern. If used properly, these lamps can help you feel more tired in the evening, and more awake in the morning when the sun is rising! 

    I specifically recommend our LAMPU LED light therapy lamp - it’s easy to use, comes with a user guide, and is inspired by the sun itself! It provides the recommended 10,000 LUX brightness for effective therapy to help regulate sleep (and even beat the winter blues)! If you’re looking for more info on light therapy, check out our website to find the lamp to brighten up your life! 

    • Home Therapy: This is a great technique to pair with an LED light therapy lamp to combat your irregular circadian rhythm. For this method, you’ll need to start by doing quieter activities before you sleep (such as reading), avoiding bright lights at night, and sleeping in a quiet and comfortable room. We also recommend you avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and strenuous physical activity before bed. Alcohol is also not recommended.
    • Medication: This solution is really for more severe cases, when all other options have failed. Talk to your doctor first, who may give you a prescription appropriate for you.

    Overall, fixing your circadian rhythm sleep disorder requires habit forming, discipline, and focus - but our lamps can help expedite the process in a pain-free, natural way. For more tips, information, or awesome LED light lamps, check out our website

    Sleep well!

    Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor