USA Today Profiles Author with Rare Sleep Disorder
July 17, 2009
A recent article in USA Today profiles George Dawes Green, an author who has a rare disorder called non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome, or hypernychthemeral syndrome. Classified as a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome is when a person's internal biological clock is found to have no stable relationship to the regular 24-hour light/dark cycle, according to the fourth edition of the Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. This means sleep onset and wake times get pushed back each day. For example, this week a person might go to sleep at 10 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m., but four weeks from now they might go to sleep at 9 a.m. and wake up at 5 p.m. Dawes, author of The Juror, told USA Today, "There is always that sense (that) if only I had a regular schedule, I could get so much more done. But I couldn't be as creative. When I let myself go free — going to sleep when I want — then creativity surges through me." Non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome is actually very rare — more often occurring in totally blind individuals. According to the Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, administering melatonin an hour or so before a person's desired sleep time is one method of treating the disorder.