Circadian rhythm sleep disorders: characteristics and entrainment pathology in delayed sleep phase and non-24-h sleep-wake syndrome

Sleep Med Rev. 2007 Dec;11(6):485-96. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2007.08.001. Epub 2007 Oct 25.


This paper presents a clinical review of delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) and non-24-h sleep-wake syndrome (non-24). These syndromes seem to be common and under-recognized in society, not only in the blind, but also typically emerging during adolescence. Both types of syndrome can appear alternatively or intermittently in an individual patient. Psychiatric problems are also common in both syndromes. DSPS and non-24 could share a common circadian rhythm pathology in terms of clinical process and biological evidence. The biological basis is characterized by a longer sleep period, a prolonged interval from the body temperature nadir-to-sleep offset, a relatively advanced temperature rhythm, lower sleep propensity after total sleep deprivation, and higher sensitivity to light than in normal controls. There are multiple lines of evidence suggesting dysfunctions at the behavioral, physiological and genetic levels. Treatment procedures and prevention of the syndromes require further attention using behavioral, environmental, and psychiatric approaches, since an increasing number of patients in modern society suffer from these disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biological Clocks / physiology
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / physiology
  • Phototherapy
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / classification*
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / therapy*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*


  • Melatonin