What are the causes of Non-24?

Sighted Non-24 is not well studied by researchers yet, but we know of several causes.

  • It may be a neurological disorder with an abnormal functioning of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus.
  • It could be due to the retina being too sensitive or not sensitive enough to light signals.
  • Sometimes, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder can develop into Non-24. This is often due to chronotherapy. Chronotheraphy is a “treatment” proscribed by patients with DSPD to try and slowly readjust their sleeping habits. Doctors ask patients to force their sleep to a cycle their Circadian Rhythm is not used to and this can create an elongated Circadian Rhythm leading to Non-24.
  • A pituitary adenoma can cause Non-24. This is a small benign tumor that disrupts the typical flow of chemicals that control hormones, particularly those related to sleep like melatonin.
  • There may also be genetic factors at play. Researchers are currently studying the genetic involvement that may be present in Sighted Non-24. Dr. Alina Patke and her associates at The Rockefeller University are among those studying how genetics are involved in Circadian Rhythms.
  • There are likely other unknown causes. We hope raising awareness will inspire researchers to continue searching.