Sleep and circadian rhythms in the blind

Jonathan S. Emens, Alfred J. Lewy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In the majority of totally blind individuals, the biological clock is no longer synchronized, or entrained, by the light/dark cycle. Despite exposure to regular social cues, meal times and sleep/wake schedules, the circadian phase (timing) of biological events in these individuals continues to drift to a progressively later (or, rarely, earlier) hour. As a result, these individuals suffer from periodic bouts of nighttime insomnia and daytime hypersomnolence, as the circadian sleep propensity rhythm moves in and out of synchrony with the 24-hour day. Recently, oral melatonin has been shown to be highly effective in resetting the biological clock in these individuals.1 Although several treatment parameters continue to be determined, melatonin is likely to prove a safe and effective treatment for this type of sleep disorder

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuroendocrine Correlates of Sleep/Wakefulness
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780387236926
ISBN (Print)0387236414, 9780387236414
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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