Inability To Maintain A Good Night’s Sleep May Be A Sign Of An Under-Recognized Body Clock Condition In The Blind
Researchers are working on ways to help blind people sleep better at night, feel better during the day.
(NAPSI)—More than 50 percent of individuals who are totally blind may suffer from an under-recognized disorder that prevents them from maintaining a regular sleep pattern, impacting their health, lifestyle and relationships.
When the body does not perceive light, it may cause a severe disruption of the 24-hour sleep-wake pattern. This condition, known as Non-24-Hour, can push the timing of an individual’s body clock out of sync, gradually shifting the body’s perception of when it is day versus night over the course of weeks or months. Symptoms may include bouts of severe insomnia, sleep deprivation and a desire to nap during the day, all on an irregular and rolling basis.
“Sometimes I fall asleep and stay asleep,” says Dan Roy, a Braille translator for Horizons for the Blind in Des Plaines, Illinois, who is congenitally blind and has experienced recurring bouts of troubled sleep and daytime fatigue since childhood. “Other times I wake up after a few hours and can’t get back to sleep.” At work, Roy adds that he must “… try to fight through my sleepiness” in order to maintain productivity.
What Can I Do if I Have These Symptoms?
At this time, there is no treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Non-24-Hour in blind individuals with zero light perception. However, extensive research is underway to learn more about possible treatments for the condition. Recently reported results from one trial demonstrated the ability to reset the body clock and align it to a constant 24-hour day in people with Non-24-Hour who are totally blind.
If you are experiencing an irregular sleep pattern, talk first with your primary care physician about your symptoms. Irregular sleep can be an indication of many conditions including Non-24-Hour.
Totally blind individuals experiencing symptoms of Non-24-Hour may also be a candidate to participate in clinical trials led by Vanda Pharmaceuticals. These studies, which are evaluating an investigational treatment, do not require any overnight stay and provide compensation for time and travel expenses. For more information and to complete a survey to better understand the condition and determine eligibility, call (888) 389-7033, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.non24registry.com.