Are you a night owl? Do you do your best work at night, struggle to fall asleep before midnight, and sleep until noon or later on the weekends? You, like millions of other Americans, may have delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS.)
Having this syndrome means that your circadian phase, or the relationship of your body’s sleep wake cycle to the 24 hour day, is delayed relative to those of others. You naturally go to bed later and awaken later, which makes it extremely difficult to work “normal” hours such as 9 to 5. This delay only becomes a “syndrome” when you need to go to school or work early and cannot acclimate to an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule. Find out more about how DSPS is managed below.
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DSPS (also known as Delayed Sleep Wake Phase Disorder) is a circadian rhythm disorder in which a person's sleep is delayed by two hours or more beyond what is considered a socially acceptable bedtime. Many people with this condition are misdiagnosed with insomnia. When allowed to sleep according to their natural rhythms, people with DSPS typically have no trouble falling and staying asleep at all.
Symptoms of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome include:
Sleep physicians treat phase delayed patients by manipulating three factors: light, melatonin, and wake time.