I was driving around a couple weeks ago and an interesting commercial came on. A man was talking about something called Non-24 and the fact that he was blind. The commercial didn’t really tell me much about what Non-24 is so I decided to do some research.
What is Non-24?
Simply put, Non-24 is a severe circadian rhythm disorder.
What is a circadian rhythm? Science Daily describes it as “a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings.” The rhythm helps regulate your body into sleeping and waking patterns.
Who does it affect?
Non-24 affects blind people who don’t have light perception.
In the U.S., there are about 1.3 million people who are legally blind. 10% of those people are completely blind and have no light perception.
According to the Non-24 site, they estimate that 70% of people who are legally blind have Non-24, whether they know it or not. You can develop it at any age, no matter what the cause of blindness.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Non-24 all revolve around sleeping patterns and the problems that can come up when a person doesn’t get enough quality sleep.
issues with alertness, comprehension, and normal social functions
abnormal sleep patterns that lead to daytime napping
gradual shifts in when your body needs sleep
What Causes Non-24?
So, this is something I didn’t know. Naturally, our bodies have a cycle that is slightly over 24 hours. Sunlight is what helps us reset to 24 hours every day. This way, melatonin and cortisol get released at the right times while we’re sleeping.
For those who are blind and have no light perception, they don’t get this reset every day. This causes a gradual shift in the circadian rhythm cycle. Then, melatonin and cortisol are released at random times throughout the day.
Eventually, day turns to night and night turns to day.
What Can You Do?
If you are blind or know someone who is, you might have those symptoms. If you do, talk to your doctor. Many doctors aren’t aware of Non-24 yet, so there is a guide of information to give them on the Non-24 site.
There is also a great, informative video on their site.
Since I care about your quality of sleep, I wanted to share this information. If doctors don’t know about Non-24, chances are that you don’t. If I can help you get a better night’s sleep, I want to do what I can to make that happen.
Find a bed that makes you feel good,