Pediatric Circadian Rhythm Disorder

A circadian rhythm disorder is a problem with a child’s sleep-wake cycle.

What is Pediatric Circadian Rhythm Disorder?

A circadian rhythm disorder happens when a child’s sleep-wake cycle becomes out of sync. The circadian rhythm, sometimes called the body clock, affects hormones, body temperature and sleep over a 24-hour period. Individual circadian rhythms may differ slightly, but all are influenced by exposure to light (day) and darkness (night).

An infant’s (birth to 1 year*) circadian rhythm begins to develop around six weeks of age and is usually set between three and six months. Changes in hormone levels during adolescence (age 10 to 19 years**) can affect a child’s circadian rhythm.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Circadian Rhythm Disorder?

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Falling asleep before normal bedtime (advanced sleep phase disorder)
  • Hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness)
  • Trouble falling asleep at normal bedtime (delayed sleep phase disorder)
  • Waking up before daylight

What are the causes of Pediatric Circadian Rhythm Disorder?

Factors that may increase the likelihood of a circadian rhythm disorder include:

  • Changes to normal routine
  • Changing from one time zone to another (jet lag)
  • Medication side effects

Pediatric Circadian Rhythm Disorder Doctors and Providers