Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSPD) is a circadian rhythm disorder. It is a disorder when a person’s sleep is delayed by two or more hours of their desired sleep time. A person who suffers from DSPD usually cannot fall asleep until late after midnight. This is not because they want to stay up late this is because their bodies keep sending off alert signals to keep them awake. Once someone with DSPD has fallen asleep they usually have normal sleep patterns. This sometimes isn’t a problem for someone who can fall asleep and wake up on their own schedule. But when you need to be awake by a certain time it can interfere with waking in time for work or school.
Delayed sleep phase disorder can affect anyone at any age. It is a very common disorder. Most common in adolescents and young adults. About fifteen percent of adolescents and young adults have DSPD. Someone with DSPD is not deliberately staying awake. Their circadian rhythm is out of sync causing them to not be able to fall asleep. About forty percent of people who have been diagnosed with DSPD have another family member that suffers from this disorder as well.
Other factors that can increase the likelihood of getting delayed sleep phase disorder are changes in puberty when your sleep cycle starts to lengthen, chronic insomnia, or poor sleeping habits. Other things could be depression, anxiety, ADHD, or even OCD. The actual cause though is unknown at why some people suffer from this and others do not.
There are symptoms that co-inside with delayed sleep phase disorder. Some of them are trouble falling asleep, or the inability to wake at a desired time. You may also have the inability to fall asleep except between the hours of 2am-6am. DSPS may also cause daytime drowsiness or depression due to the inability to have a normal sleep cycle.
This disorder is sometimes very hard to diagnose. And sometimes is commonly misdiagnosed. If you suspect that you or a family member is suffering from this your doctor will probably start with taking a family history. Following that your doctor may want you to keep a sleep log or wear a sleep-wake pattern tracking bracelet. Most of the time the best way to diagnose is to do an overnight sleep test.
After you are diagnosed your doctor will come up with a treatment plan. Sometimes teens who suffer from DSPD will grow out of it. Making good sleep habits is also a good thing to start. Make sure you stop taking any caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or doing any vigorous exercise too close to bedtime. Make your sleep habits consistent and calming. Whether that is taking a relaxing bath and reading a book every night before bed, whatever you decide your nighttime routine should be, stick to it. Consistency is key.
If these slight changes don’t help you can use bright light therapy to help reset your circadian rhythm. Other things to do to reset your circadian rhythm is to go to sleep fifteen minutes earlier every night. Another option is to use a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a natural made hormone your body produces. Sometimes taking a supplement can help someone fall asleep quicker when used.
Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder is a very common circadian rhythm disorder. It is important to know that someone with DSPD does not chose to stay up late. Though they may state they are just night owls who prefer to stay up late. It actually is not their choice to not go to bed at a more normal time.
If having DSPD is affecting your daily life either in work or social aspects you will want to reach out to your doctor so they can come up with a treatment that is best for you. Having good bedtime habits is a great way to make sure you get the optimal amount of sleep.
Trouble falling asleep every night? You could be suffering from DSPD - Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder! #HealthStatus
A consistent nighttime routine is crucial for good sleep!
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